The Importance of a Healthy Diet as We Age

It is a fact of life that people age. Our once young and strong bodies break down and we become frail and weak, only to find ourselves living in a nursing home, unable to care for our most basic needs.

The frail and weak nursing home stage is one option for your future, but it does not have to be your end result.

You do not have to take the aging process in stride and just accept it. There is something that you can do so that you won’t wind up like the majority of the elderly in our country.

What Can You Do About The Aging Process?

You can protect and strengthen your body by fueling with proper nutrition. Sure, the ideal situation would be to eat healthy your entire life so that by the time you hit 70 years old, you still feel young and vigorous.

Just because you have not lived that path your entire life does not mean it is too late to start now. There are plenty of benefits to consuming proper foods as you age, including increased strength, strong bones, memory retention and healthy hair and skin.

The ability to function in life should be motivation enough to consume a healthy diet. So many elderly people are unable to take care of their basic needs. They cannot complete even the simplest of tasks, such as carrying in a gallon of milk, because they do not have enough strength to do so.

Elderly people are at risk for fracturing their bones because they are not dense or strong enough. If you truly want to enjoy your golden years and live life on your own accord, then you need to be eating a well-balanced diet and incorporating both strength and cardiovascular exercises into your daily life.

Surprising Case Studies

According to the United States Census Bureau, by the time we reach the year 2050, the percent of elderly people that are in our country will be 20.4 percent.

This means that we will need more services for aging Americans such as physicians, nutritionists, nursing homes and other assisted living services. Government data shows that approximately 4 million people require assistance each day with some aspect of living (Source: John M. McNeil).

With these staggering numbers, it is imperative that we as a country take greater action in trying to combat this problem so that it does not become a greater financial strain than it already is.

People do not want to give the government credit for when it does something good; however, when it comes to this problem, they have taken some action. People do not have to sit back and wonder what they can do about a healthy diet for the elderly.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Agriculture Library has a complete section devoted to Lifecycle Nutrition

This site has a wealth of information from some of the most respected institutions in the country, including the National Institute of Aging, National Library of Medicine and United States National Institute of Health, as well as many respected colleges and universities.

These Vitamins Make Wonders For the Elderly

As you progress through the human lifecycle, you will discover that your nutritional needs differ as time goes on. While the need for quality whole foods does not change, our needs in terms of macro- and micronutrients will start to differ.

Such examples would include elderly people needing to consume more vitamin D and less iron in their diet.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can either be obtained by sun exposure or from certain foods, such as dairy products.

It plays an important part in calcium absorption, is necessary for bone growth and prevents bones from becoming thin, brittle or misshapen.

This vitamin is important to the elderly because they are at risk for diseases such as osteoporosis and are more prone to falling and breaking their bones.

Not only are there differences in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) for the elderly, there are also differences in macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat, and protein) as well. A few years back, the United States Food and Drug Administration released their new version of the food guide pyramid, called My Pyramid.

More recently, scientists at Tufts University have released a modified version of this pyramid that takes into account the dietary needs of the elderly population.

For the most part, elderly people need to consume the same things that younger people do. The elderly need to focus on a balanced diet that contains quality sources of protein, whole unaltered fruits, and vegetables, with plenty of whole grains and, especially, lots of fluids.

This new pyramid is designed so that older adults can have a visual representation of their needs. Foods that they should be eating are depicted by large identifiable pictures.

One thing that the modified pyramid suggests is for older people to consume frozen and canned foods as well. The reasoning behind this is that frozen and canned sources can be pulled out for a single serving meal and have a longer shelf life.

Why Might Liquid Protein Have a Great Value?

If the elderly person does not have a chance to get out or has someone replenishing their stores of food for them, then it is good to have frozen and canned food on hand.

Another great way to make sure that the elderly get their dietary requirements that fall in line with this theme is by using liquid protein.

Elderly people need to be consuming quality protein on a regular basis so that their bodies will function at optimal levels.

Liquid protein shots, such as those available from Protica, give the elderly the same advantage as other packaged foods (like their canned fruits and vegetables.)

These vials of liquid protein can be incorporated into their daily meals and should they not consume the entire thing, they can reseal it and save it for later.

Not only will they be getting what they need, but they will also have the convenience that fits into their lifestyle.

Should the elderly consume liquid protein in conjunction with proper exercise including jogging, cardio workout, waist trainer workout etc., they will continue to keep up their muscle mass, which is very important so that they can complete basic living tasks unassisted.

Conclusion

As we age, it is important to remember that we need to continue on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Our aging bodies need certain requirements so that we will keep functioning and living life to the fullest. Diets that are rich in vitamin D, calcium and protein are what we need to keep healthy.

If we incorporate these things into our lifestyle along with exercise, then we will be able to maintain a higher quality of life for a longer duration of time.

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