Importance of optimum nutrition in the elderly

At every stage in our lives, our body’s needs change, and it is important to listen to the body and follow optimum nutrition practices. If one makes a habit of optimum nutrition throughout one’s life, the chances of a healthy progress into one’s sunset years are more than probable. There is a common fallacy that it is only the young and active who need to worry about getting the right amount of nutrition. However, it is even more vital that we understand our body’s needs for optimum nutrition as we age. For, in the USA alone, over 20% of the total population is likely to retire by 2030, thus bringing into focus the importance of optimum nutrition for geriatric needs.

The consumption of calories must be in correlation to your activity levels. The elderly who are mobile and physically active may require a higher per-day calorie consumption. It is inevitable that as we age, a gradual depletion of the body’s store of essential minerals occurs owing to changes that happen in the various hormones secreted by the body. It is for this reason that a plan for boosting one’s immunity is needed which would also replace the essential vitamins and minerals that the body is depleted.

When we are younger, our natural ability to fight infections is much higher than it is as we age. This is why immunity-boosting foods are highly recommended. Fruits and vegetables are a source of great nutrition. Fruits like berries that are known for their anti-oxidant properties are also highly recommended. Similarly, well cooked (preferably steamed) vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, squashes, and also spinach are beneficial.

Consumption of foods that provide at least the necessary amount of protein and calcium, not to mention various minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, etc. are also essential and contribute to bone health. Healthy fats (e.g. those derived from olive oil or flax seed oil) are necessary for moderate quantities. The consumption of unhealthy carbohydrates must be avoided, especially for the elderly.

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