Keeping nutrition at the forefront of meal planning can be tough! But having a nutritious diet can help you live a healthier life. As we age, what we eat becomes even more important as food can impact our bodies more than you may think. Here are our nutrition tips for older adults.
Why Does Nutrition Matter?
What we feed ourselves matters! When we’re running on good fuel, we tend to feel better, be a healthy weight, and can have a stronger immune system to keep us feeling healthy. If we’re not already in tip-top shape, a good nutritious diet can help us get the strength needed to fight disease.
Step One: Keep It Safe
Food safety may not be the first thing you think of when you think about your diet but it’s very important! Foods we eat every day can put us at risk for e. Coli bacteria, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. Undercooked meats, and raw foods like fruits and vegetables can become dangerous when not handled properly. Different foods and meats need to be cooked to different temperatures to be considered safe, and fruits and vegetables should be washed before eating.
Why Does Food Safety Matter More As We Age?
It may surprise you to find out that older adults are more at risk for hospitalization due to foodborne infections. Why? Because we tend to take more medications as we age, and medication side effects can weaken your immune system. Elizabeth Powell, our Director of nursing emphasizes how important it is to monitor for interaction between common medications and foods. On top of that underlying conditions like diabetes or kidney disease, as well as changes in functioning to your liver or kidneys are more common as we age. All of these make it harder to fight off an infection that you may not have been bothered by at a younger age.
What Does A Nutritious Meal Include?
Every healthy meal should include fruits and vegetables, protein, and grains to keep you full! Here are some fresh ideas to get you started:
- Fruits: Bananas, peaches, berries, and citrus fruits.
- Vegetables: Spinach, salad greens, sweet potatoes, and squash.
- Protein: Lean meats like chicken or fish, eggs, and beans.
- Grains: Oatmeal, quinoa, and brown rice.
Get Moving: Nutrition Is Just One Part Of A Healthy Lifestyle
Nutrition is just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. It’s important for people of all ages to get some exercise in order to keep up with their loved ones, do their favorite activities, and live as independently as possible. It’s recommended that you get your heart rate up for 150 minutes per week through any exercise that works for you. Elizabeth Powell, our Director of Nursing says that even though 150 minutes sounds like a big challenge, it is only 30 minutes 5 times per week. She recommends separating the activities and enjoying this beautiful weather outside. She states it is especially important for older adults to keep moving to retain muscle memory. It’s also recommended that two days a week you get in some exercise that strengthens your muscles.
Choosing the right meals for yourself or your loved ones can be tricky, especially if you have underlying conditions to keep in mind. AmeraCare has excellent dietitians that help our patients promote their health with food plans. Our dieticians work within the plan of care for each patient to assure a holistic approach to health.
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