Too many senior citizens are undernourished as a result of:
• aging
• eating processed and refined foods
•diminished appetite
• effects of medication
Metabolic changes, along with decreased physical activity, require obtaining the same amount of nutrients from a lower caloric level.
Older people produce less saliva and often have poor dentures. This causes difficulty with dry foods.
An estimated 30% of seniors lose their ability to make stomach acid which interferes with the absorption of nutrients.
Aging affects certain senses, such as taste, smell and vision, which in turn affects the type of foods chosen.
Depression and loneliness can further contribute to a disinterest in eating. Many seniors do not have the economical means or willingness to ensure the most nutritious food choices.
What to Do?
•eat a variety from five of the six food groups
•avoid foods high in cholesterol
•increase your fiber intake
•be selective of foods that cause gas
•women especially should increase calcium
•limit fat to less than 30% of your calories
•limit use of salt
•avoid too much sugar
•drink at least 8, 8oz glasses of water daily
These guidelines can’t guarantee health alone, but good eating habits can keep you healthy and even improve your health.
Jeff Goldstein