Nutrition Tips for Seniors

You’ve heard of acting your age — but are you as conscious about “eating your age?” Not everyone realizes that the body’s nutritional needs change after 50. This is true for all older adults, although gender plays some role in which adjustments are necessary. As you head into your senior years, it may be time to examine whether your otherwise healthy diet could use a tune-up.

Important Vitamins and Minerals

Your body’s needs shift as you get older. For optimum health, it’s important to bump up your consumption of certain vitamins and minerals.

To reduce the risk of seriously injuring yourself from a fall, you’ll need to factor more servings that boost bone health into your diet. Calcium and vitamin D work together to support stronger bones. Dairy foods naturally contain calcium, and many are also fortified with vitamin D — as are cereals and juices.

Fortified cereals can also be a good way to get extra B vitamins. These are important to seniors because they help protect against hardened arteries. Along with fortified cereals, add more seafood, eggs, bananas, and potatoes to your diet. These are rich in B6 and B12, which are especially good for heart health.

Potassium shouldn’t be neglected, either. It helps your body keep your blood pressure lowered. Dried beans, bananas, and potatoes are rich in potassium.

Of course, fiber is more important than ever. It boosts regularity, as well as helps flush cholesterol and saturated fat from your arteries. Opt for whole grains rather than white bread, white rice, and spelt pasta. When possible, eat fruits and vegetables with their cleaned peels or skins on.

What to Cut Back

If you’ve already been having trouble cutting calories, the news that you’ll need to cut further may be something of a challenge. Yet seniors have slower metabolisms, which means that pounds can start to pile on if you stick to your old calorie limit. Depending on your current weight and level of activity, you should take in about 1600 calories if you’re a woman, and 2,000 calories if you’re a man.

After 50 or so, salty foods are even more of a threat to your blood pressure than ever. Look for dried herb blends to replace table salt, and read food labels more carefully.

Special Needs

Because women and men experience different physical changes as they age, it’s not surprising that some nutrition tips for seniors are gender-specific. After menopause, iron is less important for women, because they’re not losing blood through menstruation. In fact, extra iron can exacerbate another problem associated with aging — constipation. Because older women only need about 8 mg of iron a day, a healthy diet will likely provide all the iron that’s needed.

For men, prostate cancer is more of a worry. To nutritionally support prostate health, good foods to add to your diet include fatty fish, watermelon, nuts, dried beans, and berries. And replace some of your coffee with green tea, which provides antioxidant protection.If you suspect pain or low-energy issues may be linked to your diet, BackFit can provide an assessment. Often, small changes can add up to big differences when it comes to your diet.