Special Nutritional Needs for the Elderly

Special Nutritional Needs for the Elderly

As you age, your body changes. You can move the way you once could, with so much ease, you didn’t even have to think about it. These days, you have to plan an exit route for getting off the floor, should you find yourself on it. Likewise, your body absorbs nutrients differently, so not only do you have to be more cognizant of the exercise you get, but you also have to be more mindful about what you’re putting into your body. Learn the special nutritional needs for the elderly to stay healthy and energized from the experts at Special Strong.

Eat & Drink More Calcium

The older you get, the more fragile your bones become. Women who have gone through menopause, past the age 65, are especially susceptible to osteoporosis. With this in mind, it’s important to keep your calcium intake up.

Here are a few foods and drinks you can consume to boost your daily calcium:

  • Milk (lactose-free milk also has calcium!)
  • Almonds
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Tofu
  • Oranges
  • Spinach
  • Yogurt

Lower Your Bad Cholesterol Intake

Your body now has a hard time processing and holding onto the nutrients you need to stay healthy, but of course, bad cholesterol has no problem finding a home in your body. That’s just the way things go sometimes. To help keep your heart strong and healthy, make sure you’re considering the cholesterol in the food you eat. Lower your bad cholesterol intake.

Get Vitamin D—Safely!

Like Calcium, consuming Vitamin D also has positive repercussions for your bone density health. One of the best sources of Vitamin D is sunlight, but you should know that spending too much time in the sun has been known to cause skin cancer, like melanoma. Most foods don’t naturally have Vitamin D in them, but many foods have been fortified with it like milk, yogurt, soy products, orange juice, and some cereals. You can naturally get Vitamin D from fatty fish and egg yolk.

Increase Your Fiber Intake

Your digestive system isn’t what it used to be. While your digestive system was once as predictable as what show would come on in the evening, times have changed. You can get back to moving regularly by increasing your fiber intake.

The following foods have a ton of fiber in them:

  • Whole Wheat Bread*
  • Broccoli
  • Lentils
  • Black Beans
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Lima Beans
  • Chia Seeds
  • Almonds

*Note: When purchasing whole-wheat bread, make sure to read the ingredient list. If the first ingredient doesn’t say “whole” in the title, then this is enriched bread masquerading as something healthy for marketing reasons. Grab another loaf instead.

Eat Low-Fat Foods

You’ve probably heard recently that there are some healthy fats, and that’s true. Avocado, for example, is a healthy fat, and as we mentioned above, it’s also a great source of fiber. However, there are more unhealthy fats than healthy ones. The ones you need to steer clear of are trans fats and saturated fats.

High-fat foods to avoid include:

  • Cookies
  • Chips
  • Crackers
  • Fast Food
  • Coffee Creamer
  • Ready-Made Frosting

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Get More Protein

Like calcium and Vitamin D, protein is also promotes bone health, but it also improves strength, builds muscle mass, lowers blood pressure, and boosts your body’s healing properties. Unlike some of the other items on this list, protein is what’s called a “macronutrient,” meaning that your body needs more of it than other nutrients. That’s because your body can’t store protein.

Get the protein your body needs with these foods:

  • Oats
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Peanuts

Boost Vitamin B12

You may find yourself more lethargic these days than ever before. Where did all your energy go? Waking up for that zest for life must be a young man’s game. Don’t get too comfortable with this idea: You can boost energy when you boost your Vitamin B12 intake.

Here are some foods high in Vitamin B12:

  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Some Fortified Cereals
  • Shitake Mushrooms

Power Your Potassium Levels

High blood pressure is a common concern for people over 50, but increasing your potassium intake can lower your blood pressure. It can also decrease the likelihood of strokes, prevent osteoporosis and kidney stones, and balances the fluids in your body.

Power your potassium levels with these high-potassium foods:

  • Bananas
  • Apricots
  • Cooked Spinach
  • Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cucumbers
  • Egg Plant
  • Zucchini

Suppress Your Salt Intake

Another way to lower your blood pressure is to lower your sodium intake (in other words, decreasing the amount of salt you eat). You may be thinking, “But I don’t even salt my food!” You don’t have to in order to eat salt during the day. Salt is used as preservative, so anything you eat from a can or from the freezer can have high sodium content.

Here are some high-sodium foods you should stay away from:

  • Pre-Made Vegetable Soup
  • Canned Soup
  • Instant Pudding
  • Ham
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Pizza
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes
  • Processed Cheese

Stay Active

The best way to ensure that your body is having its special nutritional needs for the elderly met is to kick-start your metabolism. The best way to do that is stay active. The way you used to workout doesn’t impact your body the same way anymore though. You need to find low impact exercises that you can do with limited mobility.

Our personal trainers at Special Strong can help. We’ve worked with all types of clientele with limited mobility, from clients with cerebral palsy to clients with paralysis to clients who are elderly. Sign up for private training today to get your life back.

To tide you over until your first session, here are some articles you can check out:

  • How to Exercise With Limited Mobility
  • Top 10: Adaptive Exercise Equipment
  • Adapted Fitness Exercise Workout Plan

Special Strong provides nutrition and adapted fitness for special needs children, adolescents, and adults with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities. Through our online training platform, we also provide special needs certification courses for educators, professionals, and parents who want to learn how to adapt fitness to serve the special needs population.

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