As we get older our bodies change in ways that aren’t immediately visible. One common change is a shift in appetite and the way we process nutrients. Even our very sense of taste changes. Knowing what is ahead is important. What’s more important is knowing what to do about it. Here are some tips for how to handle nutrition during your senior years.
1. Reduce Your Intake of Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
As you age your sense of taste begins to weaken somewhat. However, your ability to taste sweetness usually remains strong long after your other tastes have lost some of their potency. That will mean that you risk over indulging in sweets and other refined carbohydrates. Don’t let that happen. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are dangerous. Unlike unrefined carbohydrates, sugar and refined carbs cause spikes in your blood sugar that can actually leave you feeling hungrier, causing you to overeat.
2. Eat More of The Right Fats
What are the right fats? They fall into two categories: Monounsaturated fats found in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats that include Omega-3 oils. These are usually found in fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and anchovies. They can also be found in flaxseed and walnut. These fats can actually help your body fight against diseases and improve your mood and brain function.
3. Make Fiber a Bigger Part of Your Diet, A Much Bigger One
People over fifty should be eating considerably more fiber than they are used to. Men should be consuming 30 grams or more per day, Women 21. Digestion becomes more difficult as we age and failing to plan for this change is a recipe for misery. Fortunately, there are many high fiber foods so the odds are high there will be something you will like. High fiber foods include whole grains, wheat cereals, many fruits and vegetables, nuts beans oatmeal and more. Make sure to make these foods a part of your daily menu.
4. Don’t Eat Alone
Depression is a major cause of reduced appetite and, unfortunately, as we age we can often find ourselves increasingly isolated. Eating regularly is a necessity and eating with others will both improve your state of mind and help you manage your menu and meals so that you eat more often and that you eat more healthfully.
If you have other questions about nutrition and seniors, please visit our website at rcjl.org or call us at 925.648.2800.