A healthy and balanced diet is the key to a long and happy life. As we age, our body requires more care and nutrition. Making sure your body remains healthy and nourished can be a task, but following a simple and balanced diet plan could reduce many health-associated risks. Diet for seniors and eating healthy doesn’t just keep your body healthy, but it also keeps your mind stress-free and reduces the risk of issues like dementia and depression.
Seniors (older adults) are more likely to experience such health issues, which is why maintaining a healthy and balanced diet for seniors is a must. But what is the healthiest diet plan for seniors? Read ahead and find out all about it!
What constitutes a perfectly balanced diet plan?
A perfectly balanced diet plan varies based on many factors like climate, age, gender, body mass index (BMI), height, any other illnesses or immune disorders, etc. A balanced diet involves all the nutrients required by the body. Some of these nutrients can be extracted from the environment like Vitamin D. But many people have trouble absorbing nutrients and have to create a diet plan that complements their nutrition requirements and deficiencies.
The best diet plan for older adults should ideally consist of foods that improve cardiac health and increase calcium absorption and metabolism in the body. Older people struggle with illnesses that cause fatigue and weakness, but at the same time, aging can cause the body to gain more wasteful fat. This is why recommended to have more protein-oriented meals rather than carb-oriented meals in old age.
Why is a balanced diet plan important for older adults?
A balanced diet plan helps us avoid many health issues as it provides our body with all the nutrition it requires. A balanced diet plan includes foods and liquids that build body strength, which is quite important to maintain as we age.
- As we get older, our body becomes weaker and its ability to regenerate and recuperate easily from diseases starts to degrade. A balanced meal plan accommodates these needs and helps the body retain more strength.
- Our metabolism slows down with age which is why it is easy to gain more weight while growing old if you’re not careful. To keep a healthy amount of body fat, it is important to follow a balanced diet plan for seniors.
- For some people, old age can also mean unpredictable weight loss, and while this may have many other reasons – keeping a balanced diet can be a good way to avoid weakness.
- Some people become more prone to cardiac and orthopedic issues as they age. Even many women experience more health issues when they near menopause. A balanced diet plan can provide the required nutrients to help your body fight these symptoms and illnesses.
7 foods to include in a balanced diet for seniors
Knowing which ingredients benefit you the most can ease the process of drawing up a balanced meal plan for yourself. A daily diet for seniors should include these foods for a healthier life –
Red vegetables and fruits
How can color impact the benefits of a vegetable? Little known fact, but red-colored food like carrots, tomatoes, pomegranates, cranberries, etc can be beneficial as they increase blood circulation and improve cardiac health. Vegetables like carrots provide Vitamin A which is especially beneficial for people with weak eyes.
Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and butter contain large amounts of protein and calcium which are beneficial in building body strength, and helpful for older adults who experience muscle weakness or loss of bone strength as they age.
Lean meats and fish
Lean meats contain vitamins like B3 and b12 which are essential for metabolism and healthy fat processing in the body. Fish is the ideal food to include in a diet for seniors, as it contains vital nutrients like omega 3, vitamin E and B12, etc.
The best thing anyone can do to transform their diet is by replacing sugar-based products with fruits. Natural sugars existing in fruits don’t flare diabetes and are easy to process for the body. Fruits like apples, bananas, and papayas contain many nutrients and antioxidants that prevent age-related health issues.
Eggs are an ideal source of all necessary meal requirements for older adults. They contain protein, and antioxidants which effectively lower cholesterol and cardiac risks in older adults.
Although not popular among western cultures, rice is the secret to a long and healthy life. Due to the adequate amount of fiber present in rice, it prevents cardiac diseases and builds body strength. It contains numerous minerals and vitamins that regulate blood circulation and improve overall health.
Green vegetables and leaves
Green vegetables and leafy vegetables may feel like undesirable meals but they are some of the most beneficial foods for your body. it contains lots of minerals and antioxidants that keep the body nourished and healthy and contains low calories. They induce dopamine production and help in managing body fats effectively to maintain healthy body weight.
The ultimate balanced diet plan for seniors
The secret to the healthiest diet plan is diversifying your meals and having at least 4 meals a day. Eating small portions of nutrient-packed meals more than 3-4 times can be way more effective than eating large portions 3 times a day. This breakdown of meals helps the body absorb nutrients easily and process carbs and calories efficiently as well.
Now to create a healthy, sustainable, and refreshing diet for seniors, let’s take a look at these meal plans –
The best diet for seniors over 70 should ideally include many ingredients that contain vitamins and nutrients like calcium, iron, and vitamins A, B12, E, and C. Including calcium-rich foods like milk and leafy vegetables can help your teeth live longer without needing dentures.
- Breakfast: To start the day, drinking milk along with an assortment of fruits, nuts and eggs can be good.
- Lunch: Should include lean meats or protein-rich food like tofu or pulses. Having rice for lunch along with these sides can be filling and healthy.
- Dinner: Dinner should always be light like a vegetable medley or soup, brown rice with fish, or a similar assortment of low-carb and high-fiber dishes.
- Snacks/ short meals: Having nuts and fruits in-between as snacks are a good way to control hunger for junk food and maintain a healthy diet. Apart from solid foods, it’s a good idea to drink fruit juices or smoothies as snacks.
Since many foods are not compatible with dentures, it is important to keep a balance between solid foods, soft foods, and liquid diets. These can include a variety of soups, curry-based dishes, fruit/yogurt smoothies, oatmeal recipes, etc.
Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for a happy and disease-free life. For seniors especially, balanced diets play an important role in preventing many health issues, and even act as a remedy for existing conditions or symptoms.
A healthy diet for seniors includes essential nutrients like calcium-rich foods that strengthen muscles and bones, green leafy vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods, and fiber-rich foods like rice and nuts that improve blood circulation in the body.
Seniors are more prone to heart and orthopedic conditions so it’s important to consume meals that fulfill these deficiencies.