For seniors, the most important thing is to stay healthy, active, and engaged in life. As aging progresses, it can feel more difficult to make healthy food choices and stay active on a regular basis. When it comes to healthy living for seniors, assisted living facilities such as Integrity Senior Placement can help with activity as well as food selection.
If you or a loved one is looking to improve their quality of life, these are a few ways to implement healthy living for seniors with food and activity.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are important for anyone at any age, but they’re especially important for seniors. After age 50, many people have a significant decline in how much fruit and vegetables that they consume.
The American Heart Association recommends that older adults eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help alleviate high blood pressure. It can also help lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
There is a variety of fruit and vegetables that are important for seniors to consume. Leafy greens are among the best to eat as often as possible. They are high in fiber and have a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that can help keep your seniors healthy.
Consider adding a variety of options to a senior’s diet, including apples, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, celery, leafy greens, and bananas.
Incorporate Extra Fiber
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that adults over 50 years of age get 21 to 50 grams of fiber each day. Men require more fiber while women can need a little less in their diet.
All seniors need fiber in their diet. It comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Both are important to seniors for several reasons.
First, it helps to alleviate issues such as constipation. Fiber is important because it helps to keep the digestive system healthy. It also keeps the digestive tract clean and healthy.
Where can you find fiber-rich foods for aging loved ones? Fiber is found in whole grains, as well as foods such as applesauce. Whole grain cereal also serves as a fiber source.
Fruits and vegetables such as beans, peas, and corn are also excellent sources of fiber. Consuming more fruits and vegetables check the box for vitamins and minerals as well as fiber intake.
Read Nutrition Labels
Paying attention to nutrition labels can help ensure that any senior stays on a healthy diet track.
Reading the nutrition label can shed light on the healthiest options for yourself or your loved one. You may also discover that some foods that you believed to be healthy or actually not the best choice.
What are the most important attrition values to focus on for a senior? It depends on the specific medical situation of each senior. Overweight seniors should be careful to not consume too many calories, especially if they are inactive.
However, some seniors are underweight and require more calories. They can also benefit from more fat and carbohydrates for a week.
Of course, even if a senior does need to put on weight, this doesn’t need to be achieved in an unhealthy approach. You can choose foods that are high in fat calories but are not necessarily unhealthy. For example, all natural peanut butter or avocado can provide the fact that The senior may need.
The best course of action is to choose foods that are as fresh as possible. This will help you make sure there are no unnecessary additives such as high sodium or sugar intake, which we will talk about next.
Keep Sodium and Sugar to Spare
Another very important element of nutritional labels is sodium and sugar. Both of these intakes have an effect on weight, health conditions, and even mental health.
It’s important to maintain a diet that is moderate to low in sodium. Adding excess salt composes health risks and water retention. Meanwhile, too much sodium is also bad for the heart. If a senior has a heart condition, it is even more important to stay away from sodium.
Furthermore, sodium is also linked to high blood pressure which can ultimately result in heart failure.
Meanwhile, sugar is a substantial element to keep in mind while you read nutritional labels. Unfortunately, sugar is in many of the foods that we eat. It is even more complicated because sugar labels and ingredients can be worded differently, such as Stevia which is a sugar alternative.
Think about a diet soda. While this might sound like it’s a sugar-free choice, it still contains a type of sugar alcohol that can cause digestive problems, including diarrhea and stomach cramps.
Just like sodium, it is best to try to keep sugar intake low. Sugar is also linked to mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Consume Lean Proteins
Are you incorporating lean proteins into your diet? Lean pro trains are also important for seniors. They are low in fat but help support muscle health, which is critical for aging.
Lean proteins are found in foods such as chicken and turkey. This ranges from buying a whole chicken or turkey, or opting for deli meat. However, if you choose to eat deli meat, make sure that you select a low sodium option.
You can also consider using ground chicken and ground turkey in a variety of creative ways. They can be used to make burgers, taco salad, or even added to lasagna. This is a great substitute for high-fat ground beef.
Meanwhile, don’t forget that fish is a great source of lean protein as well. There is a minimal amount of calories when a senior will consume fish such as salmon or tilapia. Fish can be a main dish once or twice a week. Serve with cooked broccoli or asparagus for an added portion of vegetables.
Like everybody else, it is important to stay hydrated no matter the weather or season. Water is the most abundant substance in the human body, comprising about 60% of total body weight. It is necessary for maintaining a healthy body, and water is vital for the proper functioning of all organs.
For seniors, dehydration can be a major health concern. It is estimated that around 40% of seniors are under hydrated, and this is usually due to insufficient fluid intake or increased fluid loss.
Dehydration also leads to a number of serious health risks, including kidney failure, compromised immune system, and cognitive impairment.
Are you worried that a senior you love may be at risk for dehydration? The most common signs of dehydration in seniors include dry skin and lips, dry mouth, sunken eyes, dizziness, confusion.
How much fluid should seniors drink each day? The recommended daily intake of water for seniors is about 2.5 liters, or about 10 cups of water each day.
Avoid Processed Food
When in doubt, it’s best to avoid processed foods. However, sometimes seniors need the most convenient option available. For example, consuming canned vegetables is better than consuming no rush at all.
The best choice is to focus on the healthiest alternatives available. If a senior wants to eat corn, consider frozen corn instead of canned. This is because canned food typically is high in salt, and as we established, it’s important to keep sodium intake well.
Generally, frozen foods are always a better option than canned. However, stick to fresh foods whenever the option is available.
Exercise And Movement Activities For Seniors
As we age, our joints, muscles, and bones become weaker. But this doesn’t mean that seniors can’t get the physical activity that is beneficial to their body and mind!
For seniors, it’s all about the type of exercise and the intensity of the activity. Physical activity does not have to be a difficult or high-impact activity. Some seniors can benefit from activities such as gardening.
Walking is also a tremendous exercise. If the senior is able to walk without pain and discomfort, this can lead to many health benefits including weight loss, weight maintenance, and a general sense of well-being.
Remember that exercise can help slow down the clock when it comes to aging seniors. It supports bone and joint health and it can even help seniors to help live independently.
What can seniors do to get more physical activity in their lives? Consider the following:
Start with a warmup. This may include marching in place. The idea is to gently increase the heart rate and prepare for aerobic activity.
Next, choose a moderate or vigorous activity. Walking is a good choice for most older adults. There are also seated exercises that require less impact, such as shadowboxing. Swimming and water aerobics are also excellent forms of low-impact exercise.
Seniors need about 2.5 hours of exercise each week, or roughly 30 minutes a day. When the workout is complete, a cool down should be incorporated to help lower the heart rate.
Before beginning any physical activity, be sure to consult a doctor or health care provider about any medical conditions.
Get Help with Healthy Living for Seniors
If you’re concerned about yourself or a senior in your life, Integrity Senior Placement can help with in-home services and beyond. Please contact us to get started!