Nutritional Needs Change with Age: What You Need To Know

According to the National Institutes of Health, the ability for your body to stay healthy, support a robust immune system, and even boost your mental capacity can be traced to your gut’s microbiome. As we age, this ecosystem becomes even more important. A senior’s microbial profile becomes more susceptible to change after the age 65, which means that maintaining a proper diet is perhaps more important now than ever before.

 

Everyone knows about the food pyramid, but what most people don’t know is that the traditional food pyramid (created in 1992 by the USDA) is no longer a model anyone should follow, especially seniors. Due to scientific advancements, there is a new paradigm in food science known as MyPlate. Developed by the United States Department of Agriculture, MyPlate distinguishes nutritional needs based on age and lifestyle. Some tips MyPlate provides for senior citizens include:

  • Obtaining vital nutrients such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and dietary fiber;
  • Substituting salt with herbs and spices to add flavor to your meal;
  • Adding sliced fruits and vegetables to your daily diet (if slicing proves to be a challenge, pick up pre-sliced fruits and vegetables, instead);
  • Drinking three cups of fat-free or low-fat milk during the day. If you can’t tolerate lactose, try lactose free alternatives – the main takeaway here is to substitute sugary drinks with healthy alternatives, such as water or fat-free milk.
  • To keep things simple, one rule of thumb is that your plate should be colorful by including lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. This menagerie will have your plate looking like a rainbow while fulfilling your most essential nutritional needs.

Another simple step toward a healthy diet is by following the American Heart Association’s recommended serving sizes based on your individual daily caloric needs. You can easily find your recommended daily caloric intake thanks to the National Institutes of Health Body Weight Planner.

Finally, it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet when these fresh foods are often more expensive than their prepackaged alternatives. Luckily, there are many ways around this budgetary dilemma. For example, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps over 4 million seniors buy their groceries. In fact, the average senior in America receives $113 each month – with half of all seniors receiving even more in supplemental benefits. Find out how the program can help you by visiting this link.

More surprising still, many seniors who are eligible for SNAP do not enroll. In 2014, only 42 percent of eligible individual seniors were enrolled in SNAP and only 24 percent of those living with other people enrolled. On the other hand, 83 percent of all eligible individuals in the United States were enrolled in the program.

All things being equal, nutrition is important for continued health and quality of life – both mentally and physically. If you have any questions about how we at Accelerated Home HealthCare can help provide you or your loved one with tailored nutritional care, please contact us today and let us show you how our staff with over 110 years of cumulative experience in the healthcare industry can help.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay under Creative Commons 0 license