Eating healthy helps the elders to stay active and independent as they enter to their twilight years. This is also beneficial because it keeps them away from doctor making them spend less time and money at the hospital. Chronic ailments such as heart disease and diabetes occur due to unhealthy diet. It becomes difficult for their bodies to burn calories since metabolism slows down as people grow older. That is why, adapting a healthy diet is important for them in order to meet the nutritional needs of their aging bodies.
In meeting the nutritional needs, it is essential to choose food that can give them best nutritional value. Giving their bodies the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight boosts their energy thus prevent them from being sickly. However, seniors may experience trouble in eating. They have the tendency to become a picky eater due to lack of interest in food because of changing taste buds or medication side effects. Aside from this, poor appetite or problem in chewing or swallowing can also be a contributing factors why micronutrients deficiency is common among them.
So if you are in-charge in making a shopping list, it is essential to include nutritious foods to help them maintain their health. It is also important to buy food items that are good for the brain to prevent dementia. Are you planning to visit the supermarket anytime soon and not yet sure which food to purchase? Categorized below are some of the foods elder people should be eating.
Foods Rich in Potassium
Potassium is an essential mineral needed for a healthy functioning body. As a blood minerals called electrolytes, it has the ability to conduct electrical impulses within the body along with other minerals such as calcium, magnesium and sodium. When these work together, it regulates both intra and extra cellular movement of nutrients, pH balance, heart rhythm, brain function and energy level. Potassium also aids the cells, tissues and organs to function normally. Blood pressure and kidney damaged are some of the diseases when a person’s body is low in potassium. Elders are required to take 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily.
Fruits that are high in potassium aside from bananas are: citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits, apples, raisins, apricots, avocados, sweet potatoes, watermelon, cantaloupes, honeydews, cucumbers, and prunes. While for the vegetables are: spinach, lettuce, broccoli, parsley, tomatoes, potatoes, lima beans, white and black beans, swiss chard, and peas. Other food and herbs which are also rich in potassium are: salmon, whole grains, nuts, red clover, sage, catnip, skullcap and nettle.
Foods Rich in Calcium
Calcium is a mineral needed for building and maintaining strong bones. It enables the bones to grow and regenerate. When an aging body does not have enough calcium, it begins to reabsorb it from the bones. In a long run, the bones becomes fragile and brittle making the seniors prone to osteoporosis.
Foods that are high in calcium include milk and milk products such as yoghurt cheese and buttermilk; leafy green vegetables such as broccoli, collards, celery, Chinese cabbage and spinach; fish such as sardines and salmon; egg yolks, beef liver, cheese, tuna, salmon, mackerel, cereals, soymilk and orange juice; nuts and seeds such as almonds, brazil nuts, sesame, poppy and chia seeds.
Foods Rich in Iron
Iron is a mineral that helps hemoglobin—a red protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood— to properly function. Aside from this, it also plays a vital role in the body including general energy and focus, immune system, gastrointestinal processes, and regulation of body temperature. When a person is iron deficient, he/she may experience serious health problems. One of the most common is the anemia. This ailment occurs when the number of circulating red blood cells in the body decreases.
Where does iron in food comes from? Two main sources of iron are animals and plants. The iron comes from the animals is called heme iron which can be found in fish and meat. On the other hand, nonheme iron can be found in the plants such as vegetables or in breakfast cereals—an iron-fortified food. Between the two, the body can better absorbed the heme iron than the nonheme iron.
Foods that are rich in iron are: beef and chicken liver, clams, beef, oyster, tuna, egg, shrimp, leg of lamb and turkey, tofu, oatmeal, beans such as lima and kidney, raisin, spinach, wheat bread, peanut butter, molasses, and brown rice.
Foods Rich in Fiber
Fiber is not just keeping the person regular but also keeps the blood sugar glucose levels from rising too fast, lowers cholesterol and makes it easier to lose weight. Moreover, fiber can also be described using its two broad categories: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber makes the person feel fuller quicker while insoluble fiber is the fiber that cannot be dissolved in the digestive system.
Some of the high-fiber foods are: banana, apple, orange, mango, raspberry, strawberry, carrot, beets, broccoli, collard greens, spinach, sweet potatoes, beans, legumes, breads and grains.
Foods Rich in Vitamins C, D and B12
Vitamin C is an ascorbic acid necessary for the growth and development as well as repair of all body tissues. The benefits of this vitamin may include formation of collagen, protection against immune system deficiencies, eye disease and even wound healing. On the other hand, vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. When the person has too little vitamin D, it can result to rickets and osteomalacia. Finally, vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps the body to keep nerves and blood cells healthy as well as the DNA. When the body does not receive enough vitamin B12, it can make the person feel tired and weak. In a long run, anemia can be developed.
In order for the body to keep healthy, it is necessary to eat foods that are rich in these vitamins. Fruits and vegetables with the highest sources of vitamin C are: citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruit, kiwi, cantaloupe, mango, papaya, pineapple, berries such as strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and cranberry, watermelon, sweet yellow and chili peppers, kakadu plums, guavas, kale, broccoli, lychees, thyme, parsley, and mustard spinach.
Foods that are rich in vitamin D are: salmon, mackerel, tuna, oyster, shrimp, beef liver, cheese, egg yolk, and mushrooms. Some of the foods that are high in vitamin B12 are: clams, animal liver and kidneys, sardines, beef, tuna, salmon, egg, and trout.
It is essential for an aging body to have enough amount of nutrients as they grow older. Potassium, calcium, iron, fiber, vitamins C, D and B12 are just some of the vitamins and minerals to prevent deficiency that may lead to serious ailments. Fortunately, these can be found in a wide range of food particularly in fruits and vegetables. Eating these health food mentioned above may help the elders improve their overall health.
Co-founder and Head of Marketing for HoneyCity. Henry’s passion is building e-commerce businesses that create value for the society. Through his interactions with people around him, he realizes that there is a lack in understanding of how to improve health through food and that idea gave birth to HoneyCity. In his free time, he enjoys watching a movie or reading a book.