It’s no secret that as we grow old, our bodies turn weaker and more susceptible to diseases. For this reason, it makes sense to watch out what you eat since your body cannot handle the diet you have been used to all your life. Knowing what you eat and eating well at this stage (or at any stage in your life for that matter) will not only help you gain a healthier body but will help you avoid chronic diseases that threaten your health as you age. In this article, I will share with you some tips in order to help you determine which foods to avoid and which ones you need to consume more to promote better health. Hopefully, even those who are still in their late 20s, 30s or 40s can still pick up a tip or two that will help them get used to the idea of eating well and healthy in preparation for old age.
Disclaimer: These are tips I have gathered from research and well-meaning friends over the years. I don’t claim these to be my own and these are shared with the readers of this post with the intention of helping and getting the word out there so that more people will gain useful knowledge on this subject.
- Eat plenty of veggies and fruits. This is rather general and something that we have been hearing from our parents practically all of our lives. However, no matter how much we hear it, we know that we still don’t follow this advice enough. People who are older need more of the nutrients and vitamins that they can get from fruits and veggies, so this would be the time to stock up on them. Choose greens and whole fruits because they need as much fiber and antioxidants as they can get. The ideal serving size for veggies should be around 2 cups each day.
- Drink plenty of water. This is another no-brainer in this case. Doctors have found that as a person grows old, their sense of thirst weakens or diminishes, making them prone to dehydration. For this reason, it is important to drink plenty of water, especially for those who have gone through a recent illness. Since old people need to eat more fiber, drinking water will also help the fiber move easily through their intestines and will help cleanse it from impurities accumulated through years of unhealthy eating.
- Go for less salt. Our body needs sodium, but too much of it is not good. Some older people tend to find their food tasteless, but putting more salt in their food is not the solution. You have to take note that aside from the salt you put in your food, most processed products have already been salted in the first place. People who are more than 50 years old just require 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt on a daily basis and that should already include the salt content of processed food. Instead of adding salt, you should try to use herbs and spices to add flavor and taste to your dishes.
- Supplement it. As much as I’m all for getting all the nutrients and minerals that we need exclusively from fruits and vegetables, it is not always the case. In such cases, supplements can aid your body make up for the nutrients it needs. Some of these supplements include calcium for stronger bones, Vitamin B12 to keep nerves and blood cells in good condition as well as Vitamin D for overall health. The elderly may need more supplements based on their needs as well as how active they have to be on a daily basis.
- Portion control. While this may sound like an advice for those who are trying to lose weight, this also holds true for older people. It’s easy to eat a lot when you’re still young and active since your body burns calories faster then. However, a good number of older people find that they can no longer have the active lifestyle that they used to have and their body is not as stronger as it used to be. In such cases, portion control is key. Ideally, how much you eat should depend on how active you are and if you keep stocking up on calories without burning them, you could put your health at risk.
Growing old can bring forth a lot of changes to an individual and the changes are not always pleasant. While it’s inevitable that an older person’s body becomes weaker with age, the rate in which this happens can be slowed down through proper diet, exercise, and overall healthy living. For those who have noticed these symptoms happening already, it’s not too late to try and make an effort to take care of your health. At the end of the day, it always pays off to eat and live well no matter what age you’re in.