As we age, it is essential to eat a balanced diet to properly support the body with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and thrive. Belleville Senior Services, an adult medical daycare in New Jersey, understands the role that a well-balanced diet plays. Learn more about how senior nutrition and supporting healthy food choices are vital parts of daily caregiving.
A Nutritious Diet Can Lower Health Risks in Seniors
Aging comes with many shifts, including changes to the body, health, and overall wellbeing. But these adjustments don’t have to be negative. Along with finding activities to stay physically and mentally engaged, there are several other things you can do to help an aging loved one lower their risks of experiencing common health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Some key things to consider when preparing daily meals include:
Add Plenty of Fiber
Fiber is a natural digestive aid that works to help your system run smoothly. Soluble fiber is especially important for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, while insoluble fiber aids in avoiding constipation. Some fiber-rich foods include:
- Whole grains
Aim for Variety
One of the best ways to ensure proper nutritional intake is to incorporate an array of foods into daily meals. Try to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt. Some great options are things like:
- Lean meats
- Citrus fruit
- Whole-wheat pasta or bread
- Low-fat dairy
By eating a variety of foods from these groups, you will be adding plenty of protein, vitamin D, vitamin C, calcium, and other essential nutrients to the body. And in turn, fueling it with the things it needs to stay healthy.
It’s important to remember that all bodies are different and may need varying amounts of specific nutrients. Depending on a person’s health and individual needs, focus on supplying personalized nutritional support. For instance, those struggling with digestive issues may need more fiber than others, while individuals with high cholesterol may benefit from more whole grains. You can create a custom diet using the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) MyPlate website as a guide to figure out which areas to target. However, consulting a nutritionist or physician is always the best option. A healthcare professional can make informed recommendations based on the person’s medical history and current health status.
Proper Senior Nutrition Helps with Immunity
Nutritional support is especially important for aging seniors because they need to maintain a strong immune system to fight colds, flu, and other common illnesses. During the aging process, the internal organs may become less efficient and immune-related organs, like the thymus or bone marrow, produce less of the cells needed to fight off infections. Eating a healthy balance of foods can support better immunity in the long run.
A balanced diet aids the immune system in fighting against harmful bacteria. Certain helpful microbes can break down fibers into fatty acids, which have been shown to stimulate immune cell activity. Some of these fibers can be found in probiotic- and prebiotic-rich foods, such as:
- Fermented vegetables
- Kombucha tea
- Garlic, onions, and leaks
Supplying the body with foods that help the immune system is an essential part of senior nutrition and overall care.
Begin Your Journey towards Quality Senior Nutrition
While an individual may be feeling great in their early senior years, it is never a bad idea to start taking steps toward fueling the body with valuable nutrients. Understanding senior nutrition doesn’t necessarily mean stripping your entire current diet and turning to a strict meal plan. Instead, you can begin by slowly incorporating your favorite foods that contain a bit more protein, or maybe swapping out white bread for slices of whole-grain bread. It’s all about moderation.
Located in Belleville, NJ, and serving older adults in the surrounding area, Belleville Senior Services supports senior wellness in a variety of ways. To learn more information about our services and receive answers to nutrition-related questions, contact us to schedule a free care consultation today.