Proper Nutrition for Seniors

Healthy eating habits are an important aspect to maintaining good health in your later years.

In order to understand the importance of the changes you're going through, it is important to understand what changes your body is going through.

Decline in Sense of Smell and Taste
Your body is experiencing a decrease in taste buds and secretion of saliva from your salivary glands. Try sucking on a candy or chewing on gum prior to a meal to encourage saliva secretion. Add more spices and try new ones.

Dental Problems
Many people over the age of 65 need to use dentures, making chewing and swallowing difficult and causing a decline in the amount of food consumed. Take special care of your tetth and make sure you are properly fitted for dentures. Until you are able to address this issue, try focusing on soft foods or liquids.

Gum Problems
It is very important to take good care of your gums, especially if you need t wear dentures. Gums should be strong and not prone to bleeding or swelling. Make sure you are getting enough vitamin C (good sources of vitamin C: citrus fruit and tomatoes).

Over the age of 65 there is a decline in muscle functionality, leading to less movement of stomach muscles and slower digestion. This can cause constipation. Constipation can have adverse side effects as it causes decrease in the body's absorption of important nutrients. This leads to tiredness, irritability, weakness and more. Too much use of laxatives can make the intestines 'lazy', therefore, they are not recommended on a regular basis. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables (with the peels), which can be blended if need be; whole grains; oatmeal and burgul.

If constipation continues to be a problem, avoiding eating cheese for a week and eat yogurt instead (around 3 times a day). Add prunes to your diet and stay active. Make sure to drink 10 cups of water a day and see your physician or dietician about adding fiber to your diet.

Bone Density
A decrease in the absorption of nutrients can cause problems in your bone density - a condition known as osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is more common among women and can be avoided if you are careful to get the right amount of calcium every day. Keep active and get some some exposure (in the morning until 10 and in the after, after 4 pm).

Useful Tips for Your Health

  • Vary your food - eat every day and make sure you eat the correct serving from every food group
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Drink 10 cups of water a day
  • Eat fresh food. Check the dates on your preservatives and dairy products
  • Prior to cooking fish, meat or poultry, make sure it looks fresh, and sense okay. If you aren't sure if it's still okay to eat, don't use it. Frozen meat, poultry or fish has the same nutritional value as fresh ones - they are also generally cheaper and cleaner.
  • Make a grocery list every time you go to the supermarket. Keep fresh fruit at hand, and buy seasonal fruit - it's less expensive and provides many needed vitamins, minerals and nutrients.
  • Cook one big dish and divided into smaller portions. Save the extra portions for the next day in the fridge or freeze them for a later date. If it has been defrosted, you cannot refreeze.
  • Invite friends over for a meal or eat while watching television (if you're lonely)