Proper nutrition is important for anyone to be healthy, but it is especially important for seniors. Everyone has different dietary needs, and that includes adults 65 and older. To meet those dietary needs, seniors should adopt a healthy diet plan. Here’s why.
Senior malnutrition is at an all-time high. Almost 50% of seniors are malnourished. Due to issues such as food deserts, not having the stamina to shop and/or cook meals often and being unable to eat full meals of nutritious food, many seniors aren’t getting the vitamins, minerals, and more that they truly need.
By adopting a healthy diet plan, coordinated with a doctor or nutritionist, a senior can find the right balance of nutrients for them. This can help them avoid and prevent malnutrition.
Positively Affects Mental Health
Adopting a healthy diet plan not only helps prevent malnutrition, but it also positively affects the brain and the brain’s functions, including memory ability, cognitive ability, and even mood.
A senior diet with enough iron, glucose, and A and B vitamins can improve alertness, memory, and blood flow. These vitamins can be found in supplements, including multivitamins, but whole foods like spinach, beets, oranges, and lean meats can offer vitamins that are more easily absorbed.
Strengthens Immune Systems
Although there are other ways for a senior to strengthen their immune system, such as regular exercise and yearly flu shots, proper nutrition is one of the most important things they can do.
For the body to naturally fight off sickness and viruses easier, a proper and healthy diet is essential. This includes eating foods high in vitamins and antioxidants, like berries, citrus fruits, red bell peppers, and yogurt fortified with Vitamin D.
Of course, these foods aren’t going to automatically save a senior from all colds, infections, or viruses. However, these foods can help prevent most colds, and also keep those colds from becoming overpowering.
Helps with Chronic Illnesses
First, a healthy diet plan can help keep chronic illnesses at bay for senior citizens. But, if a senior is already dealing with illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or another illness, a healthy diet plan is crucial and can make them easier to manage, or at the very least, provide comfort while dealing with them.
Just like many healthy adults feel sick or bloated after eating unhealthy food, the same goes for seniors, especially those with chronic illnesses. But with healthy foods, like those mentioned above, a senior can feel better and provide the nutrition their body needs.
Proper nutrition, along with prescribed medications, supplements, and vitamins can make a huge difference in how a senior feels from day to day while managing a chronic illness.
Helps with Organ Function
A healthy diet can keep a senior’s eyes, kidneys, liver, brain, and heart (among others) healthy and functioning properly. Of course, there are multiple vitamins and minerals that affect and boost function for different organs. But overall, a nutritious diet that has been formulated for each individual senior can help keep all organs functioning properly.
Some foods that help with organ functions include green vegetables like broccoli and kale, berries, nuts, fish, and avocados. Even olive oil, if used properly and not overdone, can help provide fats and nutrients that can help the body absorb more vitamins and minerals.
A Healthy Diet Plan Makes Being Healthy Easier
Overall, seniors should adopt a healthy diet plan because proper nutrition and eating healthy foods makes being healthy easier. Just as adolescents and adults can’t out exercise a bad diet, neither can seniors. And, the older you get, the more your focus on nutrition should be.
Healthy and balanced meals and snacks allow seniors to get their proper nutrition as well as give their body, including their organs and brain, the opportunities to repair themselves, provide energy, and fight off illness. Overall, a healthy diet equals a healthier lifestyle and senior.