When a senior ages, there can be both physical changes as well as lifestyle changes which may affect diet. It’s important for seniors to eat well because this improves energy levels, increases resistance to illnesses as well as improves metal acuteness. Eating well can also boost a positive outlook on life as well as adding to good emotional balance.
Physical changes that affect diet
There are physical changes which can affect diet. Some of these changes are listed below:
- Metabolism: After the age of 40, metabolism slows down. One reason is because of becoming less physically active. When a person becomes less physically active, it is even more important to develop healthy eating habits. It’s additionally important to exercise to help avoid excess weight gain.
- Senses are weakened: When seniors get older, sensitivity to salty and bitter tastes become dulled. So, seniors may use more salt on food than what’s needed even though less salt should be used. Switching to adding herbs, healthy oils and spices to food should be implemented instead for extra seasonings.
- Illnesses and medication: Some medications and illnesses also affect how food tastes. So, more sugar or salt may be used to make food taste better by seniors. This is unhealthy and can contribute to an unhealthy diet.
- Slower digestion: Because less saliva and stomach acid is generated as a person ages, this makes it more difficult for the body to process certain minerals and vitamins. These would include B6, B12 which are good for the nervous system among other things and folic acid which is necessary for mental alertness and preventing anemia. Talk to a doctor about using these first as they can interact with medicines. Upping fiber intake and taking other doctor approved supplements is an excellent idea to aid digestion too.
Lifestyle changes which can affect a diet
Changes in a person’s lifestyle can also affect a person diet. Some of these changes may be:
- Depression and loneliness: Depression and loneliness can lead to overeating or not eating hardly at all. A way to combat this is to eat with other people by inviting a friend for a homecooked meal or trying out new recipes.
- Death or divorce: If a senior’s spouse is deceased or if a senior is divorced, there may be little interest in preparing meals for just one. But by cooking meals, a senior can take charge of his or her health and make meals which entice the appetite.
- Being on a limited budget: By cutting out junk food and processed food, a senior can save money on a budget. So with planning and healthy eating tips, whole hearty meals can be planned, and a senior can still stay within budget.
To avoid malnutrition, which is a critical issue among seniors, seniors need to eat more nutrients and eat better quality food too. So a senior should have food which is flavorful, but healthy as well as having healthy snacks between meals. Also, having help with food preparation as well as eating with company can entice a senior to eat healthier. If the senior is having trouble chewing, smoothies made with yogurt, fresh fruit and protein powder will still give the vitamins and minerals necessary additionally. Steamed vegetables and couscous are soft food for people with chewing issues in addition.
Eating healthy is important to keep seniors in top shape.