The Importance of Healthy Nutrition for Seniors
Good nutrition is important for anyone of any age; however, good nutrition may be even more beneficial for seniors. As seniors age, health problems rise, metabolism slows and appetites can change. This makes it imperative for seniors to choose what foods they consume wisely. Not only can choosing foods that are better for the body make seniors feel better, but good nutrition also has many health benefits that seniors may not have thought about. While maintaining a nutrient-rich diet may seem easy, many seniors don’t realize that their nutritional needs change as they age and that they need to be eating different foods than they did before. This leaves many seniors unsure of where to start.
According to Peggy O’Neill, Director of Sales and Marketing at Lions Gate, a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Voorhees, New Jersey, eating a nutrient-rich diet starts with knowing what to eat, how much to eat and what to be drinking. “Resources such as MyPlate can help seniors discover what to eat and how much they should be eating,” says Peggy. “An easy way to start is to follow this guide and use only the amount of servings they suggest, because it’s easy to overeat when you aren’t sure what you should be consuming and how much. Start a food journal to keep track of what you are eating and how much on a day-to-day basis, this helps to keep you conscious of what foods may need to be removed from your diet and what may need to be added. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor, as your specific health issues can determine how much you should be consuming and what your diet may be lacking. Take the food journal along and evaluate it together to come up with a plan for better nutrition.”
BENEFITS OF HAVING GOOD NUTRITION
Eating well and having a nutrient-rich diet can do many beneficial things for seniors, from promoting good health and increasing energy to managing weight along with other health issues that seniors may face according to an article by the National Institute of Health (NIH®). For example, a nutritious diet can:
Prevent diseases. According to the NIH, eating well can potentially prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, type two diabetes, bone loss, some cancers and anemia. A nutritious diet can also help to reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol.
Help the body stay well. The NIH states that when we eat well, we get the nutrients needed to keep our muscles, bones and organs well, keeping us healthier longer.
Increase energy levels. Eating well provides the body with the energy it need to use throughout the day. Not only can this make you more likely to exercise and get moving, but it can also help control and maintain weight.
All of these benefits can, in the long run, increase the amount of independence as seniors age, so start making healthier choices to keep yourself feeling great, looking good and living well.
NUTRIENT-RICH FOODS FOR SENIORS
The National Institute on Aging (NIA®) and the National Institute of Health (NIH®) provide helpful guidelines to help you make nutrient rich choices. The NIH suggests making one small change at a time, as a nutritious diet is something that needs to be adopted into a healthy lifestyle. Start small and make some slight adjustments based on their guidelines.
Fruits & vegetables. Seniors should eat one to two and a half cups of fruit daily and two to three and a half cups of vegetables a day, according to the NIH.
Grains. Seniors should eat five to ten ounces of grains per day. Whole grains are more beneficial for seniors’ digestive systems, as they provide more fiber.
Protein. The NIA states that lean meat and poultry are good sources of protein. Seniors should eat five to seven ounces of meat per day. Trimming fat and removing the skin before cooking is recommended. Beans, eggs, peanut butter and nuts are also great sources of protein.
Dairy. The NIH recommends that seniors consume low-fat dairy products more than high fat dairy. This includes 3 cups of fat-free or low fat milk. Keep in mind that yogurt and cheese are also great sources of dairy.
Season differently. Instead of salt or butter, try to use lemon juice, herbs and spices to season meats and other foods, according to the NIH. If you do use salt, keep the amount small or remove it from the table.
If you’d like to put a healthy and nutritious diet into place, but are deterred by the cost, know that there are options for financial help. Use coupons, buy generic brands and buy in bulk as much as possible. If needed, there are various food assistance programs that can make it more affordable to maintain a nutritious diet. Visit the National Council on Aging for more information.
WELLNESS AT LIONS GATE
At Lions Gate, we want to inspire people to get active and take control of their health and well-being. We have a full-time wellness director right on site, as well as a registered dietitian to help our residents realize their full potential. Not only this, but our menus are filled with healthy, kosher food options that are restaurant-style, home-made and, most importantly, fresh. Call or visit us today to see how we can inspire you to be well.
INSPIRING WELLNESS EVERY DAY AT LIONS GATE.
Lions Gate, located in Voorhees, NJ, offers a continuum of lifestyle and care options rooted in Jewish traditions and values. Whether you are in need of Independent Living,Assisted Living, Memory Care, Skilled Nursing or Rehabilitation Services, Lions Gate has you covered.
Our mission at Lions Gate is to enrich the lives of those we serve through quality and compassionate care consistent with our heritage and values. We strive to provide programs and services that inspire well-being, as well as social, cultural and spiritual independence.
As a full-service community rich in wellness programs, meaningful experiences and educational opportunities from Lions Gate University, Lions Gate allows residents to connect with those who share their interests and cherished traditions. Our goal is to provide residents with an active, worry-free lifestyle filled with ways to connect with others, pursue their passions and be engaged in everyday life. While we focus on Jewish customs and traditions, we welcome people of all faiths to the Lions Gate family.
Through our affiliation with Jewish Senior Housing and Healthcare Service, we also offer three senior living communities for those with limited incomes.