Dietary Guidelines for Senior Citizens - Landmark Senior Living

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Dec 14 2018

Dietary Guidelines for Senior Citizens

Post by: Joe Gilmore

Eating correctly can make a huge impact on your health, especially as we age and, if done properly can help to extend your age. There are a number health benefits associated with healthy eating. Losing or maintaining a healthy weight is one obvious benefit, eating healthy can also reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Eating healthy can depend on each specific person, but there are a number of dietary needs that should be met to reduce health risks. Following guidelines and being sure to eat certain foods regularly and not eating too much are all things that you can do to ensure that you are getting the body the nutrition it needs.

Along with eating properly, getting active and exercising regularly can have a major impact on your health and can be effective in extending your life. Incorporating both of these things is the best method for maintaining and improving physical health and can even go a long way in enhancing mental and emotional health. Eating properly and exercising will help you remain active and maintain energy levels, helping you to keep up with younger family members.

Diet Recommendations

A bowl of oatmeal and milk with fresh fruit

As people begin to age, the body tends to need fewer calories, but the same number of nutrients. Looking for nutrient-rich foods that have a lot of vitamins and minerals that aren’t high in calories is key.

The main diet recommendations for for men and women over the age of 50 are as follows:

Men  Women
2000 calories 1,600 calories
56g of protein 48g protein
130g carbohydrates 130g carbohydrates
28g of dietary fiber 22.4g dietary fiber
1000mg of calcium 1200mg calcium
8mg of iron 8mg of iron
420mg of magnesium 320mg of magnesium
700mg of phosphorus 700mg of phosphorus
4,700mg of potassium 4,700mg of potassium
2,300mg of sodium 2,300mg of sodium
11mg of zinc 8mg of zinc
900mcg of copper 900mcg of copper
900mg Vitamin A 700mg Vitamin A
15mg Vitamin E 15mg Vitamin E
600mg Vitamin D 600mg Vitamin D
90mg Vitamin C 75mg Vitamin C
1.7mg Vitamin B6 1.5mg Vitamin B6
2.4 mg Vitamin B12 2.4mg Vitamin B12
120mcg Vitamin K 90mcg Vitamin K

Being sure to eat a foods that are nutrient dense can help you maintain these recommended levels. Some foods that will help with this include:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kale
  • Salmon
  • Walnuts
  • Sweet Potatoes

The National Institutes of Health encourage everyone to “eat from the rainbow” by choosing a wide variety of foods and being sure to choose a range of vibrant colors, especially for fruits and vegetables.

To learn more about the dietary needs you, or someone else requires, you can view the United States Department of Agriculture’s website, MyPlate, that deals with all the major nutritional needs.

Dietary needs can also change depending on each person’s individual case. For example, if someone is suffering from a lack of bone density or osteoporosis, they should be intaking more calcium in order to try to combat brittle bones.

Control Portion Sizes

Not overeating is one of the easiest ways to ensure that you stay at a healthy weight. One of the easiest ways to make sure that you are not in-taking too many calories is to control portion sizes. One way to watch caloric intake more carefully is to avoid eating in front of the television, computer, or other screen, you will focus more on what you are eating rather than what you are watching.

Another way to ensure that you are eating the proper amount of food and not overindulging is to keep an eye on the nutrition facts label that is found on food and drink packages. Meal prepping can also help to be sure that you don’t overeat. Setting up meals for a few days in advance will not only save time and money but can also have a positive effect on your health.

Healthy Weight

Most know that aging can affect the body’s makeup, such as losing muscle mass and bone density, both of which can lead to frailty and can lead to an increase in health risks such as broken bones. A specific healthy weight depends entirely on each individual case.

Maintaining a healthy weight is done through eating right and exercising. Some seniors may think that they don’t have the capability to exercise because of previous injuries, age or other factors but talking to a health professional can clear this up and help to create a proper path forward.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is important for all ages, starting regular exercise can improve endurance, strength, balance and flexibility, all of which before vastly more important for maintaining health at a later age. There are a number of exercise options available to older individuals many of which will focus on one of four categories: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

Some exercises that can be incorporated to help with these areas include:

  • Speed walking or jogging
  • Dancing
  • Lifting weights
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Muscle stretches

Regardless of the specific exercise being done, getting up and active will not only help you maintain a healthy weight but can also prove to be effective in improving mood, sleep and reducing stress. The USDA recommends that adults at any age should get about 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every week and that a good goal is to be active at least three days a week.

In Conclusion

Being sure that you are eating properly and getting exercise can be hard, especially if you or your loved one is living independently. However, there are some options available to people who want to ease the burden on themselves or their loved one. At Landmark Senior Living, we offer our residents a number of amenities and features that can help to improve their health and quality of life. Feel free to reach out to our admissions team today to schedule a complimentary walk through of one of our independent or assisted living facilities.

 

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