When people reach old age, they become more prone to illnesses and may have less strength and mobility. While aging is unavoidable, seniors can give themselves the best chance at maintaining their health and well-being by eating well.
Not only do people need to eat regularly in order to have the energy to function daily, but people also need to eat healthy foods that provide them with necessary nutrients. This is especially the case for elderly individuals.
Knowing this, it is important for seniors consume foods that help them maintain their health and provide enough nutrients. If you need help choosing appropriate foods for your elderly loved ones, continue reading to learn more about the best foods for seniors.
What’s great about eggs is they are an excellent source of protein and can be prepared in numerous ways, providing seniors with some variety. One day it can be scrambled eggs with toast, and another day it can be hard-boiled eggs in a salad. Whether consumed on their own or with other foods, eggs can help with memory. They contain a B vitamin called choline, which also helps with stress management.
2. Cold Water Fish
Not only are cold water fish, such as salmon and tuna, great sources of protein, but they are also good foods for your brain and heart due to their high levels of omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon, in particular, has omega-3 fatty acids that can help decrease beta-amyloid levels, helping with Alzheimer’s prevention. These healthy fats can also be found in nuts and beans, so seniors have other options for healthy fats.
Vitamin D is also naturally found in salmon and tuna. This can be especially beneficial to seniors who have a high risk of falling, because your risk of falling increases with a vitamin D deficiency.
Ideally, elderly individuals should consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids twice a week to ensure they get a sufficient amount.
Scallops, crab, oysters, and other shellfish have iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin B12. These nutrients can help seniors improve their brain functions.
More specifically, vitamin B12 will help with red blood cell production and nerve function maintenance. Magnesium will help with heart health, bone strength, and immune system health. Potassium helps lower blood pressure and improve cell functions. Iron is needed to ensure your lungs get enough oxygen.
Fruits and Vegetables
4. Leafy Green Vegetables
Everyone knows that vegetables are good for you, but there is also a link between leafy green vegetable consumption and lower cognitive decline. Knowing this, make sure your elderly loved one has broccoli, kale, spinach, and other leafy greens to eat.
Another recommended vegetable, asparagus offers various beneficial nutrients to seniors. Its high fiber levels help with heart health and lowering cholesterol, and the lycopene it contains can provide protection against prostate cancer. Asparagus also has vitamin A, which aids with eye and immune health.
Elderly individuals can get their dose of antioxidants by eating a variety of berries. From blueberries to strawberries, berries are rich in antioxidants, which will help seniors’ bodies fight off damaging free radicals. Cherries, plums, and red grapes also provide such benefits, so seniors have other choices if they aren’t into berries.
Another great fruit option is apples. With their natural sugars, apples are a good choice for seniors who need to maintain blood sugar levels. Furthermore, the soluble fiber in apples makes them beneficial to elderly individuals with high cholesterol because the fiber can help reduce cholesterol. Apples are also rich in antioxidants, potassium, and vitamin C.
Vitamin C aids in bone and teeth repair and wound healing. That said, if seniors are dealing with such healing, then make sure they get a sufficient intake of vitamin C.
8. Dairy Products
Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all great sources of calcium, making them among the best foods for seniors. This is especially important because surveys have indicated calcium consumption decreases as people age. But calcium is crucial for our bodies, because it helps people maintain bone health and strength. Without a sufficient amount of calcium, an individual’s bones will become fragile and may lead to osteoporosis.
Per the World Health Organization, seniors need to have 1200 mg of calcium on a daily basis, so stock up on dairy products. Calcium can also be found in non-dairy milks, such as almond or soy milk.
9. Whole Grains
Everyone needs carbohydrates, and whole grains are a great and healthy way for elderly individuals to get their daily carbohydrate intake. Unlike other carbohydrates, whole grains have a plethora of nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, and protein among others. These can help with heart health and blood pressure regulation.
Some examples of whole grains to consider adding to your loved one’s diet include oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat pasta.
10. Dark Chocolate
Elderly individuals who love chocolate can get their fix by indulging in some dark chocolate — in moderation. Packed with antioxidants, dark chocolate is a good food choice that has been known to help with heart attack prevention, decreasing stroke risks, and lowering blood pressure.
Meal Preparation with Senior Home Care
With the aforementioned list of best foods for seniors, getting seniors to eat well is easier said than done. Grocery shopping can be an issue, especially if seniors do not drive. Some elderly individuals may not have the ability to prepare meals for themselves, and other seniors might not feel comfortable cooking because of the hazards involved. If this is the case, seniors can become malnourished. Malnourishment can be prevented if you get the proper help for your elderly loved one.
Assisting Hands provides senior home care in Park Ridge, IL, and the surrounding Chicago suburbs. Within these non-medical care services, caregivers can provide meal preparation for seniors. From grocery shopping to cooking to cleaning, your loved one’s caregiver will handle the entire process. This will ensure that seniors get the meals they need to provide necessary nourishment.