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March is National Nutrition Month

Why Nutrition is Important As You Age

Following a healthy diet is important during any stage of life. But nutrition is even more important to seniors as they get older. By paying attention to their nutritional needs, seniors can maintain their health or even improve it. Here are some tips to consider about senior nutrition.

Dietary Needs Change As You Age

Seniors may need to change how or what they eat as they get older. There are several main reasons for this. Once a person turns 40, their metabolism starts to slow down so it’s important to both eat healthy and engage in physical activity to avoid gaining weight. As their metabolism slows down, it becomes harder for seniors to absorb vitamins like B6, folic acid, and B12 which help with being alert and having good circulation. So it’s important to make sure to eat foods rich in these important vitamins and speak to a doctor about adding supplements as necessary to boost nutrition. Even basic tenants of eating and drinking change with age. Taste is something that dulls for seniors which is why it’s all too easy to season food with salt or eat sweeter things. Staying hydrated is also not as easy since seniors don’t feel as thirsty. It takes some concentrated effort to eat healthy and drink more often.

How to Get the Necessary Nutrition

Getting the right nutrition is important for staying healthy. But figuring out what to eat can be a challenge. Here are some foods to keep in mind to help keep the body in good shape.

- Healthy bones require vitamin D and calcium three times a day. Foods like cereal, juice, and bread contain both of these things. Seniors can also try adding two to four tablespoons of nonfat powdered milk to a recipe to increase calcium since it adds 50 mcg per tablespoon towards the daily recommended serving.

- Increase energy levels by eating foods with B12 in them. Red meat, mackerel, yogurt, and fortified cereals are foods for this. Maintaining a good energy level is also important for heart health, bowel regularity, and keeping osteoporosis at bay.

- Fiber is key in helping digestion as well as slowing blood glucose absorption into the bloodstream to avoid blood sugar spikes. It also helps lower cholesterol and maintain a healthy weight. Eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains help with fiber and they have lots of nutrients as well. Getting the right nutrition is a challenge for seniors because it does take some extra effort. But by understanding what happens to the body as it ages and knowing what foods can help maintain good health, it makes grocery shopping a little easier.