Healthy Eating

eatright

It’s no secret that eating healthy is probably a great life choice to make, no matter your age.  But did you know that age does become a factor when selecting which healthy foods are consumed?  Sodium, added sugars, and solid fats become items that need to be monitored more closely as we get older.  You might be asking “Well then what should I be eating?”.  That is what we are going to talk about today!

Nutrients to Know

There are five main food types that the body needs to stay healthy: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water.

  • Proteins – Often called the building blocks of the body, good proteins include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Carbohydrates – These are broken into two categories: Simple and Complex. Simple carbs include fruits, vegetables, and milk products as well as honey and sugar. Complex carbs are in breads, cereals, pasta, rice, beans, peas, potatoes, and corn.
  • Fats – These are broken down into four groups: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated, and Trans fats.  Monounsaturated fats are in canola, olive, peanut, and safflower oils as well as avocados, peanut butter, and some nuts/seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, soybean, and flaxseed oil as well as in fatty fish, walnuts, and some seeds. Saturated fats are found in red meat, milk products like butter, palm oil, and coconut oil.  Regular cheese, pizza, and grain or dairy based desserts are also a souce.  Trans fats are found in stick margarine and vegetable shortening.
  • Vitamins – These help the body grow as well as regulate it.  There are 13 vitamins: C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). These can be found in vitamins/vitamin supplements as well as in some foods.
  • Minerals – These help the body function.  Some important minerals include iodine, flouride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Eating a varied diet is the best way to ensure a healthy mineral intake.
  • Water – Seems like a no-brainer, right?  You would be surprised how often health problems can be traced back to dehydration.  Research indicates that seniors are far more likely to experience adverse health effects from insufficient levels of fluid than younger adults. On average, seniors have 10% less fluid in their bodies compared to younger adults.  To read more about staying hydrated, check out our blog post on that topic here!

Here we gave you just a small overview of ways to eat healthier as you age.  If you want to learn more, visit the National Institute on Aging.

For more information on our company Great Oaks Management and senior living communites, visit us at www.greatoaksmanagement.com.

Top Superfoods for People Over 50 (it also never hurts to start eating them now!)

Eating healthy has many benefits, regardless of age. Food provides nourishment and essentials that our bodies need in order to function and maintain stability.  Some foods go the extra mile. They are rich with vitamins, minerals, and other necessities that, while being healthy in general, also boost other areas of our body.  These particular foods are called Superfoods!

Superfoods

Apples – They contain soluble fiber.  Apples can help lower cholesterol and slow glucose intake.  This can aid in keeping your blood sugar at a healthy level.

Asparagus – Lycopene is found in high volume within asparagus.  Lycopene aids in prostate protection and can reduce the risk of prostate cancer.  Asparagus also contains Vitamin A which is important for the eyes and immune system.  In addition, asparagus also contains iron and protein.

 Blueberries – Blueberries, like apples, have high levels of soluble fiber within their tiny blue spheres, but more importantly they contain Vitamins C, Vitamin K, antioxidants, and the mineral manganese which aids metabolism.

  Broccoli – Broccoli is high in fiber, vitamins A, C, B9, and K as well as antioxidants.  These aid your eyes, immune system, red blood cells, bones, and tissue.

Butternut Squash – Butternut squash is practically overflowing with betacarotene, which is essential in maintaining healthy eyes.  The squash also contains Vitamin C and high fiber content.

Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolate contains antioxidants like flavonoids and polyphenols, which can help prevent heart attacks by lowering the chance for clogged arteries.

Coffee – The National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study found that people that drink regular or decaf cofee were less likely to die from heart and respiratory diseases, stroke, injuries and accidents, diebaetes, and infections.

There are plenty of other superfoods available. To learn more about them and other helpful topics regarding Senior Care, visit us at GreatOaksManagement.com.

Unintentional Weight Loss

Weight loss can be a serious problem for seniors.  While some weight loss is healthy, unintentional weight loss can cause other health problems.  Of all senior adults, 15%-20% lose weight.  Senior adults who have lost 5% of their total body weight are 4 times more likely to develop serious health problems or die within six months of the weight loss.  Of those five percent, 80% are more likely to fall, resulting in hip fractures, brain bleed, or other fractures.

          Causes of Weight Loss:

  • Cardiac Problems
  • Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Depression
  • Medication Side Effects

           Tips to Fight Weight Loss:

  • High Protein Snacks
  • Small, Frequent Meals
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • See a Doctor to Evaluate Medicines as Cause
  • Appetite Stimulant

Remember to weigh every week at the same time, every time.  Report continued weight loss to your doctor.  For more information, visit GreatOaksManagement.com.

Preventing Poor Nutrition

Eating well is important no matter the age, but it can become increasingly difficult for seniors to get the proper nutrition their bodies need as they age. Health issues and physical limitations play a role in the rising problem of malnutrition in our seniors.  Poor nutrition and malnutrition occur in 15% to 50% of the elderly population.

Let’s look at the causes of poor nutrition:

  • Decrease in Sensitivity – Senses such as taste and smell can decline with age.  Meals that are not appetizing is less likely to be eaten.
  • Medication Side Effects – Side effects of some medications include reduced appetite, nausea, or simply throwing off taste buds.
  • Poor Dental Health – Dentures that do not fit properly, jaw pain, mouth sores, missing teeth, or other dental problems can make eating difficult or painful.
  • Financial Burden – Sometimes finances play a role.  Groceries can get expensive, making the cheaper, less nutritious options seem like the better solution.
  • Forgetfulness – Dementia, poor memory, or alzheimer’s can cause seniors to get off schedule, eat the same foods over and over, or even forget the last time they have eaten.
  • Depression – Life can get harder as you age.  Loved ones might be far away or simply do not visit as often, bodies start to fail; loneliness takes hold.  Depression can decrease appetites or simply cause one not to care.

Ensuring Proper Nutrition:

  • Offer Better Food Options – There are plenty of nutritionally-dense foods such as peanut butter, seeds, nuts, olive oil, brown rice, whole wheat bread, fresh fruits and vegetables, benas, legumes, meat, and dairy products.
  • Aromas and Flavors – Appeal to the senses.  Intensify flavors and aromas with marinades, herbs, and seasonings.
  • Make it Fun – Make mealtimes a social event.  Maybe make dinner a family event or invite friends over.
  • Healthy Snacking – Small snacks throughout the day also help.  Snacks like nuts, seeds, cheese, and cereals are a great choice.
  • Take Care of the Teeth – Proper oral health enhances nutrition and appetites.  If their teeth or jaw is hurting, get it looked at by a dentist or proper physician.
  • Set Reminders – Sticky notes, calendars, alarms… Anything to help set a routine.

For more information, visit GreatOaksManagement.com.