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The ultimate guide to nutrition for older adults

Learn more about the proper nutritional needs of seniors, plus the best cookbooks for healthy recipes  

A proper diet with the right nutrients is important at any age, but seniors are especially susceptible to disease and health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis that can be improved or even prevented with proper nutrition. [1]

That’s why it’s important for seniors and their caregivers to know their unique nutritional needs to stay happy and healthy as they age! 

Continue reading to learn more about nutrition for older adults. 

Why is nutrition important for seniors?

Our bodies need proper nutrients to best function at any age. However, as you grow older, your nutritional needs change alongside your body and life changes. 

Healthy eating and proper nutrition for older adults not only benefits their physical health, but their mental health and cognitive functions as well. 

Older adults are also more susceptible to malnutrition due to a slowing metabolism, less caloric intake, and a decreased ability to absorb nutrients. 

Read more: 

6 ways to thrive as you age with fun activities for seniors 

Nutritious choices for seniors 

It’s important that aging adults choose nutritious foods to maintain and strengthen their health and wellbeing such as: 

  • Fiber-rich foods. Foods that are high in fiber help promote heart health and proper digestion. Fiber-rich foods include lentils, broccoli, and avocados. 
  • Foods high in omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids help to prevent inflammation which can lead to heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and more. Low omega 3 levels have also been linked to memory loss and reduced immune function. Fish, flaxseed, and soybeans are all high in omega 3 acids. 
  • Whole grains. Whole grains contain many vital nutrients, such as fiber, B vitamins, and protein. Whole grains include brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and bread, oatmeal, and barley. 
  • Proteins. Protein is essential for older adults in order to maintain their muscle strength. Good sources of protein include lean meat, beans, tofu, and nuts. 
  • Vitamins. Calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D are all important for seniors to maintain strong bones. B vitamins, especially B12 and B6 help to prevent fatigue and even memory loss. There are a variety of foods that include these vitamins, but if you feel your loved one is not getting enough of these essential nutrients, a multivitamin is a great way for seniors to increase their vitamin intake. 
  • Plenty of water. Staying hydrated at any age is crucial because dehydration can cause drowsiness and a decreased immune system reaction. 

Cookbooks for seniors

Cookbooks often have long and complicated recipes that turn people away from trying to make more nutritious meals for themselves. However, there are many affordable cookbooks that aim to make cooking simple with recipes that are easy-to-follow such as:

  • The Wholesome Cook was written by Martyna Angell who has six cookbooks with recipes that adapt to all dietary needs and restrictions. She also has hundreds of free online recipes that you can sort by dietary restriction, ingredient, and difficulty. 
  • The Healthy Seniors Cookbook includes almost 200 easy-to-read recipes that focus on nutrition for older adults. There is a wide selection of recipes from soups to main courses and low cholesterol and low sodium options as well. 
  • Good and Cheap is a free online cookbook that includes over 50 recipes including breakfast, soup, main courses, and desserts. In this book, Leann Brown outlines how to make all the recipes for just $4 per day. You can find the free download here
  • The Gut Makeover focuses on recipes and advice to maintain a healthy gut. The recipes in the book aim to improve not only your digestive system, but your mood and skin as well. 

Read more: 

8 easy in-home exercises for seniors (no equipment needed!)

Looking for a caregiver to help you or a loved one? 

Our Flourish in Place caregivers are dedicated to helping aging adults with everyday activities while enjoying the freedom of being in their own home.  

We offer a wide variety of specialized services, including cooking and serving nutritious meals, companionship and support, light housekeeping, and dementia care. 

To learn more please request your Free Consultation today!

1: National Council on Aging | Get the Facts on Healthy Aging

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