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Healthy Eating for Seniors

By Sabina Rose
Food Pyramid -

More nutritious food

When you become older you may need more nutritious food. The reason for this is that you may eat less food than before, but it may also be because your body is in need of more nutrients. It becomes essential for seniors to eat as healthy as possible.

Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B12

Calcium and vitamin D are such additional essential nutrients needed, especially for women who tend to have fragile bones. Getting adequate amounts of vitamin B12 is also important because as you get older, the body has often more difficulty absorbing the vitamin from foods.

Here are tips to make sure you get enough calcium, vitamin D and B12:

  • Choose calcium rich products such as milk, yogurt and cheese. Enriched soy products and orange juice are also great alternatives of calcium rich food sources.
  • If you eat oily fish you will get protein, vitamin B12 and vitamin D. The oily fish such as salmon and sardines contain a lot of vitamin D. Fish and meat are good sources of both protein and vitamin B12.
  • Check the food labels to make sure you get fortified foods rich in vitamins and minerals. If you find it difficult to get enough vitamins from foods you may want to consider taking dietary supplements.

Spread out your meals

If your appetite is not as good as before it can be difficult to eat enough: three main meals and two or three snacks per day. In order to maintain your weight, you may need to add some energy-rich food. For example, you may need more vegetable oil on your salad and avoid low-fat products, and have some tasty dessert.

The ability to feel the taste may decrease with age, so it is important that the food looks appetizing. If the food needs more seasoning try spices such as curry, dill, rosemary, pepper, green pepper, garlic and chives.

Important snack

Prepared meals usually provide more nutrients than snacks, but snacks still play an important role and provide energy.

Here are a few snack examples:

  • Sandwich with mackerel, liver paté or ham
  • Yogurt with berries or fruit
  • Porridge with milk and cinnamon
  • An avocado/fruit
  • A cinnamon bun with milk
  • Gruel or other liquid foods are often easier to ingest than solid foods

How to avoid constipation

As you get older, it is normal to get constipated. If you eat and drink too little or don’t move as much as you used to, you will easier get constipated. To prevent constipation it is important that you drink enough beverages and eat foods with fiber such as vegetables and whole grains. Fruits and berries such as raspberries, gooseberries and currants can be added into your sour milk. Although fiber is important, it is equally important that you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals, so don’t forget to eat foods such as fish, meat, chicken, potatoes and rice that provide many nutrients.

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