Senior Health Series: Nutrition and Hydration
It’s no secret that the needs of your body change as you get older. Let's take a look at some of those changes, starting with the most basic requirements: food and water.
We all need to eat and drink, of course. Those needs don’t change. What changes are the amounts we need to eat and drink.
Fewer Calories. With less physical activity, less overall muscle mass and a slower metabolism, senior adults require fewer raw calories. If they keep the same diet as they’ve always had, they may experience an unhealthy weight gain.
The same amount of nutrients. While they may require fewer calories, seniors still need the same amount of nutrients. Therefore they should seek out nutrient-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, and lean meat for protein and iron. Don’t forget ‘brain’ foods either. Research had shown that a diet rich in fatty omega-3 acids, such as those found in salmon, and folic acid, as contained in spinach, can help stave off the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Plenty of water. When it comes to staying hydrated, many seniors report not feeling as thirsty as they used to. Age doesn’t change the body’s need for water, so it’s important for these seniors to set reminders so they remember to keep their fluid intake up. For example, they may need to keep a bottle of water near their favorite chair or take one with them when they go out. Foods such as watermelon and cucumbers also have high water content and make an excellent addition to any senior’s diet.