As we age, our nutritional needs change just like our bodies do. We may find ourselves needing fewer calories since we are no longer quite as active. We may realize that we gain or lose weight at a different pace than we used to. A decrease in metabolism and slower digestion due to aging are completely normal changes and nothing to be worried about. However, some simple dietary adjustments can help accommodate these changes and ensure we are our healthiest selves.
Luckily, these improvements are fairly simple and easy, and you may even be doing them already! Our caring staff at The Woods at Merrimack in Methuen, Massachusetts has put together a list of five easy ways to improve your diet and your health.
People of all ages often do not drink enough water and can easily become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause dizziness, fatigue, and even more severe symptoms if not corrected. To prevent this, it’s important to drink several cups of water throughout the day and always have a bottle of water within reach. One of our favorite methods to encourage more water drinking is to purchase a fun reusable bottle that has a pattern or color that you enjoy as well as your preferred lid (with or without a straw, or with an opening that feels comfortable for you to drink from). Not only will you drink more water if you have a bottle handy, but a reusable bottle helps support the environment and the reduction of plastic waste.
It is common for the digestive system to slow down as we age. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious foods that are rich in fiber and can help prevent the uncomfortable stomach pains and bloating caused by slowed digestion. These foods include beans, broccoli, avocados, berries and whole grains. Try something new in the kitchen by incorporating these ingredients into new meals that not only taste great, but offer healthy vitamins and minerals, too.
Your doctor has likely told you that your plate should contain at least one serving of fruits or vegetables each time you eat, and that is for good reason! Fruits and vegetables contain lots of micronutrients that are vital to our health and well-being. Enjoying a variety of vitamin- and mineral-rich produce will provide your body with everything it needs to maintain your immune system, bone and gut health, fluid balance, and so much more.
Salt is in so much of the food that we consume, and the majority of people eat too much of it due to a reliance on processed, packaged foods. You may be wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to salt, but for seniors with high blood pressure, salt can cause too much strain on the body and contribute to more serious conditions. When searching for low-sodium options, choose produce that is fresh rather than canned since most preservatives are sodium-based. You can also purchase many foods in a “low sodium” option. These small changes can have a huge impact on your overall health.
Daily vitamins provide us with tons of nutrients that are sometimes hard to get from our regular diets, especially if we do not eat varied, nutrient-dense foods. Finding a daily multivitamin can increase your energy and protect your bone strength. Talk to your doctor about which daily vitamin might be perfect for you.
Small diet changes can have big impacts on your overall health. Consider incorporating some of these tips into your diet on your next grocery shopping trip!
To learn more about residency or to schedule a tour of The Woods at Merrimack, contact our friendly team today.