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Nutrition Facts For Seniors
Healthy eating and nutrition for seniors is greatly impacted by several factors, one of them being a change in body composition. During the later years in life, the body will lose bone and muscle and gain fat because the hormones aren't very active anymore.
There are many factors which hinder a senior's health. The information below will help you to live a healthier life - no matter how old you may be. In fact, eating right can not only make your old age better, but is an important factor in living longer as well. So to live longer and live well, eat well.
The ability of the body to save and use water tends to decrease as we age.
As a result, many seniors are in danger of becoming dehydrated very easily. In fact, my mother, who is 95, told me recently that recently, a man at her facility passed out in the dining room from dehydration.
Sometimes, a person won't feel thirsty, or, at other times it's just too much work to pour a glass a water. With this in mind, it's recommended that a senior drink at least 1 ounce of water for every 2.2 pounds of weight each day. Remember, since you won't always "feel" thirsty, drink before you feel thirsty. As a rule of thumb, the old standby of eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day will usually do the trick. However, if you are working outside or exercising, you might be losing more water than normal, so, make an extra effort to stay hydrated.
One way to track whether you need to drink more water is the old army trick of checking the color of your urine. The darker it is, the more hydration you need. Keep in mind that farther in this article we recommend taking Vitamin B12. Your urine might turn dark for a while after taking that.
One other point related to water: Being overweight is unhealthy no matter what you are eating, and the body often interprets thirst as hunger. Trainers to the stars recommend they stay hydrated to prevent their eating unnecessary calories. In addition, dehydration can slow down metabolism, the mechanism necessary to help maintain a proper weight.
At this stage in a person's life, protein, always imporatant, becomes even more so. Protein is needed to support a healthy immune system and prevent the wasting of muscle. Since energy needs are less, seniors should eat high quality protein such as eggs, lean meats, poulty, and fish. However, avoid high protein diets. Again, water helps the body process protein so there's another reason to stay hydrated.
Carbs and Fiber
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the entire body. You can find carbs in bread, cereals, pasta, and other grain products. A diet that's high in fiber and water will help to prevent constipation as well. However, beware of carbs from sources such as sugar and refined grains. One way to find good carbs is by eating low glycemic index foods.
Fat intake for the elderly should be limited, but not eliminated. Fat is important to many bodily functions, especially those related to the nerves and should never be totally removed from your diet. You can limit fat by choosing lean meats, low fat dairy products, and food preperation methods that don't include frying.
While an iron deficiency is not common for seniors, an iron deficiency can still be seen with those who aren't eating much. Good sources for iron include lean red meats or breakfast cereals.
Zinc intake, as with many vitamins and minerals, is normally reduced with seniors, and to make matters worse, it's not absorbed very well either. Meat, poultry, and fish should be a part of your diet to help you meet the requirements for zinc.
Calcium is one ingredient that most seniors simply aren't getting enough of. Most believe that milk upsets their stomach, and therefore they will avoid it. They should be getting around 1,500 mg of calcium a day, and nonfat powdered milk can be used in recipes as a substitute for milk. Other foods such as yogurt, low fat cheese, and broccoli can also help you meet the requirements for calcium. Remember that magnesium helps the body make use of calcium, but it is hard to balance all the conflicting dietary needs, so taking a daily multivitamin may be a sensible solution for many.
In order to absorb the benefits of B12, a glycoprotein produced by the parietal cells of the stomach, the gastric intrinsic factor must be present. A vitamin B12 deficiency in seniors are common because they have a condition known as atrophic gastritis. This condition causes inflammation of the stomach, bacterial overgrowth, and inhibits production of the intrinsic factor. Without the intrinsic factor, this vitamin cannot be absorbed.
While taking a B12 supplement may be a good solution to a Vitamin B12 deficiency in many cases, in the instance of atophic gastritis, common to seniors, a better solution would be to take B12 in a sublingual form which is placed under the tongue where the nutrient can be absorbed directly into the blood stream.
Each one of the above nutrients are needed to keep an aging, or aged body, in good health. Seniors should try to stay active and strive for a well balanced diet as there are many phytonutrients needed for good health as well. Even though the older body isn't the same as it was in its younger days, proper care and the right nutrients can help seniors enjoy a long and healthy life.
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