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Healthy Food Habits for Older Adults

​​​​​​​The definition of healthy food changes according to your age and the same thing goes for older adults, especially if they are above 65. As you grow old, your metabolism slows down and the requirement of calories is less than before. Now you need to eat foods that will keep you healthy while keeping health-related complications at bay.

As you grow old, eating a well-balanced diet is very important because diseases are common once you become old, and having good healthy food helps to avert diseases and keep you healthy. Your nutritional requirements, appetite, and food habits change in several ways once you grow old and your body needs certain nutrients more than before. Here are a few best healthy foods for older adults which are helpful to be healthy and keep them free from various health-related conditions. Here are a few food habits every older adult shall add to their diet to live a healthy life.

Nutrients Rich Food

Though the need for calories decreases with age, the requirement for various other nutrients remains the same or may even increase. Nutrients rich foods with vitamins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein must be included in the diet of older people. Foods such as beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish, and meat with lean protein, and low-fat dairy products contain a good amount of various nutrients and older adults should include these foods in their diet. Foods such as desserts, deep-fried foods, sugary drinks, junk food, etc should be avoided as they contain unhealthy calories.

Fibre Rich Food

Fibre is very important to maintain a good digestive system and it also helps avert constipation and other digestive system related problems. Having soluble fibre helps to maintain a good cholesterol level. Some food items such as beans, lentils, nuts, oats, whole grains, various fruits, and vegetables are good sources of fibre that should be included in the diet of older adults. Some old people may face problems while eating fibre-rich foods and in such cases, fibre supplements like Psyllium Husk can be taken but consulting a doctor is advisable before having fibre supplements.

Protein Rich Food

Foods that contain protein are important to cover daily protein requirements along with maintaining muscle. You can add seafood, dairy, or fortified soy products along with beans, peas, and lentils to your diet to get enough protein throughout the day.  Lean meats are also a good source of protein but red meat should be avoided. Also along with eating healthy food, you can totally avoid or at least cut down a good amount of salt and sugar in your diet as they are unhealthy, especially for people above the age of 60.

Minerals and Vitamins

You should make sure that your diet includes foods that are rich in certain minerals and vitamins as they are essential to keep you healthy. Bone problems are quite common among older adults, especially older women so food rich in calcium is a must to avoid bone-related problems. Fish along with dairy products like milk, cheese, and yoghurt are rich in calcium and including these in your diet is helpful to keep bones healthy and strong. If you are a vegetarian or allergic to dairy products, then you can have green leafy vegetables including broccoli, cabbage and spinach, soya beans, and tofu as they are high in calcium foods. Iron-rich foods including pulses (peas, beans, and lentils), oily fish such as sardines, eggs, bread, and green vegetables help keep up your body’s store of iron. Green vegetables, liver, certain fruits, peas, and lentils are good sources of vitamins A, C, and D.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

It’s very important to keep yourself hydrated after reaching a certain age because ageing decreases water content in the body which can make you dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to impaired cognition or acute confusion, or constipation. and it’s also one of the main reasons for mortality rates among older people. Drink enough water at regular intervals. You can also include fruit juices in your diet but avoid sugary cold drinks as they do more harm than benefit.Having water rich fruits like watermelons, oranges, etc are also helpful to keep you hydrated.

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