As you get older, good nutrition can help lessen the effects of diseases such as osteoporosis, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and digestive problems. It can help you feel better, recover faster from illnesses, and possibly spend less time in the hospital.
Unfortunately poor nutrition is one of the most common health problems in older adults. Over time, poor diet and lack of exercise can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems.
You may not eat a healthy diet because:
As people age, changes occur in the body that can affect nutrition. Your body does not absorb nutrients as well as it used to, so you need to take in more nutrients to get enough. It may be hard to get all the nutrients you need if you eat only small amounts of food. You may not need as many calories as you used to, so you need foods that provide vitamins and minerals without too many calories. These include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, beans, peas, lentils, fish, eggs, and low-fat cheese.
Many older people have medical problems and some may need a special diet, for example:
Special diets often mean extra effort, but instead you may prefer foods that are quick and easy to prepare. These foods may provide too many calories or contain too much fat and sodium.
To help prevent poor nutrition:
Family members and friends can help older people by:
Talk with your healthcare provider about a healthy weight based on your height and age. Try to stay near that healthy weight by exercising and eating nutritious foods. A good nutritionist can help you with your diet. Nutritionists are available for consultation through your local senior center or healthcare facility.
There is a wide range of healthy weights for any particular height. Also, being fit and healthy are more complicated than just having a good weight. Still, no matter what medical problems you have, there is a range of normal healthy weights for your height. Check with your healthcare provider to see if you should be concerned about your weight.