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Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Sep 12, 2023

healthy food layout

As we age, our bodies naturally change and therefore need a well-rounded mix of nutrients to support those changes. Similar to growing children, healthy eating is important for aging adults need too. Maintaining a healthy diet can help support things like bone health, promote the immune system, and prevent diseases like high blood pressure.

Why is Eating Healthy Important for Seniors?

Many adults over 65 believe that, since they have reached such a milestone age, they deserve to eat whatever diet they’d like. And, while there is nothing wrong with an occasional dessert, seniors need to eat healthy meals to combat the many diseases that can sometimes come with age.

At Applewood, we understand that maintaining a healthy diet is a crucial aspect of successful aging. That’s why providing an abundance of dining options is a top priority.

Some of the most common diseases that can be prevented or lessened with healthy eating in older adults include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

Additionally, eating right has been linked to a lowered risk for some cancers and a lowered risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

How Can Seniors Eat Right?

All adults over 65 need to eat a wide mix of macronutrients and micronutrients. In short, macronutrients are the proteins, carbohydrates, and fats you see on food labels, and micronutrients are the various vitamins and minerals found in all food.

Macronutrients are a little easier to track since it is recommended that all seniors consume about half of their diets in carbohydrates, about a third of their diets in proteins, and the rest of their diets in fats. In general, this means that you should be consuming quite a bit of grains, vegetables, and beans, a little less of meats, poultry, and dairy, and a tiny bit of oils.

Micronutrients are a bit harder to track though, and the right ones are found in certain types of foods.

1. Micronutrient: Calcium

Calcium is an important micronutrient that promotes strong bones and prevents diseases like osteoporosis, which is especially common in adults over 65. You can find calcium in dairy products, especially milk, as well as dark green vegetables. Some brands of cereal are also high in calcium, such as Wheaties and Special K.

2. Micronutrient: Vitamin D

Vitamin D is another great micronutrient for older adults that can promote bone health and a positive mood. Foods that contain good amounts of this vitamin include dairy products, orange juice, seafood, eggs, mushrooms, and some types of beef. You can also get vitamin D by spending some time in the sun though you should be sparing with your time to prevent excess exposure to UV rays, which can cause skin cancer.

3. Micronutrient: Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is often overlooked when we are focusing on our diets, but it is an important vitamin that helps us make red blood cells. Having a healthy amount of these blood cells can also prevent anemia, fatigue, and some cases of memory loss. This vitamin is most often found in meats, seafood, eggs, dairy, poultry, and some types of cereal.

4. Micronutrient: Potassium

Most people have heard of potassium, but they may not know that it is essential for lowering blood pressure. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and beans to get your fix of potassium daily.

Eating right is vital for all adults over 65, and we here at Applewood know that. If you are a senior looking for independent or assisted living with a focus on healthy eating, consider joining our community. The Culinary Institute of Applewood, a part of our Engaged Living™ program, hosts monthly food-related events for residents to enjoy, including cooking demonstrations and competitions.