Healthy Living Monthly Theme 2021 March

Changing Nutritional Needs for Seniors

Did you know that eating healthy is important no matter your age?Proper nutrition is necessary for health, quality of life, and feeling great. As we get older, our bodies change in many ways and it’s important to adapt nutritional intake to account for these changes.

One reason nutritional needs change is due to physiological changes that occur later in life. Energy and function are two main areas where we see the most significant decline. Energy usually decreases due to a constant and gradual decline in basal metabolic rate which can decrease the needs of calories.

The recommended daily nutrition for seniors according to the USDA is as follows:

  • 1 ½-2 ½ cups of fruits
  • 2- 3 ½ cups vegetables
  • 5-10 ounces grains
  • 5-7 ounces protein foods
  • 3 cups fat free dairy foods
  • 5-8 teaspoons oils

Ensuring adequate nutrition will help keep older adults feeling more vital and ultimately healthier. A couple key nutrients to monitor in daily meals include:

     Calcium and Vitamin D

  • Older adults need calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health. Aim for three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each day. Fortified cereals, fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables, and fatty fish are great sources of calcium and vitamin D.

     Dietary Fiber

  • Eat lots of fiber rich foods to help you stay regular. Fiber can also lower your risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Whole grain breads and cereals, beans, and peas are all ways to increase the amount of fiber in your diet.

As bodies change, they don’t function as well as they used to. However, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your quality of life as you age. Eating healthy and adapting to new nutritional needs is one sure way to keep you feeling like you’re 22

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