Although everyone should aim to maintain a healthy and balanced diet at any age, at different stages of life, this can become even more important. As we grow older, our bodies change; consequently, we may need to eat or drink certain things to help with these changes, especially if they are medically related. For those over 60, a healthy diet is essential to good health so here are some top tips about what to eat and drink as you get older:
Eat Foods High in Iron
Getting enough iron in your diet is important as it helps many parts of our bodies to function correctly. A lack of iron can result in feeling tired and lethargic, meaning you will have little energy. To avoid this, be sure to include lots of iron-rich foods in your diet such as red meat, oily fish, green vegetables, eggs and bread. Certain breakfast cereals also have a high iron content, so it’s good to check these out too.
Cut Down on Salt
Eating too much salt can pose serious health risks, predominantly, by raising your blood pressure. This can then lead to strokes or heart disease, both of which can be fatal. To ensure you get the right amount of salt in your diet, be sure to check food labels when you’re buying food or making meals. A lot of the salt we ingest is already in the foods we eat, so it’s a good idea to establish just how much salt you’re about to eat before you add more! Even when you do add more salt to a meal, try not to exceed the 6g recommended daily allowance.
Eat Fibre-Rich Foods
Fibre can really help with digestion. If you experience any digestive problems such as bloating or constipation, eating fibre-rich foods can help to alleviate uncomfortable symptoms that may be affecting you. Foods such as beans, nuts, dried fruit, and raw bran cereals are great sources of fibre, so include them in your diet, especially if you feel your digestive system would benefit from it.
Get Enough Zinc
As we get older, our immune system can often weaken, making us more vulnerable to illness. To strengthen your immunity, be sure to eat foods rich in zinc as this will really help to fend off any invading bugs or bacteria. Zinc-rich foods include pork, beef, lamb, spinach, mushrooms, chickpeas and nuts.
Keep your Calcium Levels Up
Getting enough calcium in your diet is important in helping your bones stay strong and preventing osteoporosis, a condition affecting many older people that makes your bones weaker. Calcium can be found in a variety of dairy products including cheese, yoghurt, and milk, as well as other foods like green leafy vegetables (cabbage) and tinned fish (sardines).
Drink Lots of Water
Around 60 percent of the body is water, so staying hydrated is important for a number of reasons, including to help with digestion, circulation, saliva production, body temperature and brain function. Drinking water is the best way to stay hydrated, but other liquids such as fruit juices, tea and coffee can also help. However, be sure to balance the amount of caffeine you’re drinking with less stimulating drinks, as ingesting too much can temporarily increase your heart rate and result in more trips to the loo!
Establish Any Dietary Requirements
A number of factors such as a lack of mobility, eating too much or too little of something, or experiencing other health issues can cause older people to develop dietary deficiencies. If you think that you might have a vitamin or mineral deficiency, it’s best to visit your doctor who can help to establish your dietary requirements and assist you with putting together a diet or meal plan.
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is always good, but for those over 60, can prove vital to staying in good health, both physically and mentally. For more advice concerning elderly nutrition, pop over to our health page or get in touch on our social media.