The body changes as it gets older and we require different amounts of nutrients to keep us healthy and strong. With the right diet, exercise and social stimulation, it’s possible to enjoy a fulfilling and healthy life well into your golden years.
Eat more fibre
Increased fibre is the best way to avoid constipation and it’s particularly important in a person’s senior years to look after the bowels, so as to avoid any gastrointestinal diseases. Include whole grains, raw fruit and vegetables, beans and lentils into your diet. These nutritious foods help to keep you feeling fuller for longer and lessen the chance of developing chronic diseases in the bowel and digestive system.¹
Increase calcium intake
After the age of 40, calcium depletes from the bones at a faster rate than it can be replaced, and this is especially prevalent for women with osteoporosis. Both women and men should try to get enough calcium to encourage strong, healthy bones. If you are particularly low in calcium, it’s recommended to take a supplement daily to counteract this loss of calcium, but speak with your doctor or dietician to get the right dosage for you.²
Use less salt and eat a banana a day
According to Nutrition Australia, approximately 50% of the population over 50 years old have high blood pressure which is largely due to a diet with a high salt intake. Although a small amount of salt is required for the body, we can get enough required salt from our diet in the form of vegetables, meat, milk, eggs and manufactured foods like crackers and bread. Adding salt to foods or a diet high in salt will increase the chances of developing high blood pressure. Another way to protect your heart and to lower blood pressure is to eat bananas. With their high potassium content, bananas are able to lower blood pressure as well as having many other benefits including overcoming depression with their high levels of tryptophan, which converts to serotonin in the body, feel good neurotransmitter in the brain.
Eat a variety of colourful whole foods
Colourful fruit and vegetables help to keep the mind active and strong. Nutrient rich foods boost the mind, helping to lessen the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Choose a diet rich in colour and aim for five different colours on your plate at meal times. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind and is a great self-esteem boost as well, because when you look good, you feel good.
Avoid skipping meals and snack throughout the day
Missing a meal will cause your metabolism to slow down, which will make you feel sluggish and will not keep mind active and ticking over to make good decisions throughout the day. It’s also great for the metabolism to have healthy snacks between meals like nuts, fruit or wholegrain crackers.
Visit the dentist regularly
Teeth are crucial to being able to enjoy food, and so it’s important to keep teeth and gums healthy to ensure that food is able to be eaten. Elderly people have a higher chance of experiencing and developing dental problems and so it’s recommended that seniors visit the dentist more regularly than twice a year for check-ups, especially people with dentures.
By looking after your diet and keeping the mind busy and active, it’s possible to live healthily and feel fulfilled well into the golden age. Include healthy amounts of fibre, calcium, colourful fruit and vegetables, consume less salt and try a banana every day. Use these tips to make the most of the senior years!
While looking after your health, be sure to look after your finances as well and double check you have adequate levels of funeral insurance to help protect your family.