With all the health problems of a senior citizen, is diet the most important key to senior health?
Staying healthy as you age depends on eating a well-balanced diet. It can be used to stay energized, eat well, and maintain a healthy weight. In addition, you are also less likely to develop chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Consume foods rich in fibre, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to meet your nutritional needs. Reduce your intake of processed sugars, saturated fats, and salt. Managing chronic health conditions may also require dietary changes.
• Medical Conditions
Getting older puts you at risk for chronic health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Changing your diet may help prevent or treat these conditions. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, you should eat foods high in nutrients but low in excess calories, processed sugars, saturated fats, and trans fats. Your doctor may also advise you to eat less sodium. Several older adults become sensitive to onions, peppers, dairy products, and spicy food; it might be necessary to avoid these foods.
Chronic health conditions may require you to take medications. Certain medications may affect your appetite, and they can also interact with foods and nutritional supplements. Consult your doctor if you take medication to find out if any dietary changes are needed.
• Oral Health
Oral health is a concern for seniors as well. Several of these can affect eating. Poorly fitting dentures, for example, can lead to poor eating habits and malnutrition. Mouth infections are also problematic.
• Immune System
An aging immune system puts you at a higher risk of getting food poisoning. Eating correctly should be a priority at every age. In the meantime, taking extra precautions may be necessary since your immune system is weakened. As an example, your doctor may advise you to avoid homemade mayonnaise and Caesar salad dressings that contain raw eggs.
A balanced diet and exercise are the most vital keys to a healthy life for seniors. My maternal grandmother is in her 80s, and time has made her body more fragile. She has always prioritized the state of her home over the state of her health. For this reason, my mother pays constant attention to her mom’s well-being.
She consults with a dietitian to ensure my grandmother’s meals stay nutritious and ensures that everything is organic and fresh. We grow all the vegetables we need in our garden, and the meals are almost always cooked from scratch. Unfortunately, my grandma went through knee surgery, significantly impaired her mobility. However, after regular prescribed knee exercises, she’s been able to walk on her own again. In conclusion, if you want a healthy, independent life as you get older, you should attend to your body’s needs. And nothing does that better than a healthy diet and regular exercise.
It is essential to mind your diet whatever your age is, but it is easier to fall into a destructive, unhealthy diet in your twenties than in older generations. When you get old, it becomes apparent that nutrition and exercising frequently result in healthy aging and longer life. But there are other factors as well that contribute to your physical health. Mainly, people who are not obese, exercise frequently, don’t smoke, eat healthy food, and mind their dental health consider themselves excellent.
I am 66 and thankfully healthy. My father is 87, and at age 66, he was already unhealthy partly because of type 2 diabetes. And I believe he developed the disease due to his lifestyle throughout his life though some genetics may make him a bit more prone. But he still could have prevented it had he known and cared about eating better.
So here I am, eating much lower-carbs and very clean, little to no processed foods, much of it organic. And I can walk 5 miles still, including hills. I am not on any medication, and all my recent yearly labs look fine. So I do feel the diet is essential to senior health.
But it needs to start way earlier. We’re now finding that poor blood sugar control leads to, or at least adds to, the likelihood of many diseases, not just type 2 diabetes. Heart disease, circulatory disorders, cancer, dementia, etc., all can be shown to be caused or worsened by poor blood sugar control. Plus, activity is critical, so I feel both go together.
While in my 60, the amount of exercise I need fits into my natural daily activities The dog must be walked, the garden free of weeds, and many other daily chores. But seniors, who may already have physical limitations, have to make it a point to be active enough.