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Eating healthy, along with exercise, is one of the most effective ways to prevent aging as well as disease or illness.

Obtaining all the essential nutrients from various types of food is important for seniors to keep their body healthy.

As we age, we tend to lose muscles mass and strength, and thus our calorie requirements decline. However, other requirements such as vitamins and minerals remain the same. Having a balanced and appropriate meal is especially important for your elderly loved one.

When preparing a meal, concentrate on providing enough key vitamins and minerals of which seniors often fall short. Here are some examples:

Calcium

  • keeps bones and teeth strong
  • prevents osteoporosis
  • helps control blood pressure
  • found in milk, yogurt, cheese, spinach, etc.

Zinc

  • maintains the immune system
  • keeps your skin healthy
  • prevents hair loss
  • found in oysters, turkey, nuts, red meat, etc.

Potassium

  • works with sodium to maintain the body’s water balance
  • equal amounts of sodium and potassium are normally recommended for consumption
  • found in potatoes, fruits, meats, green beans, etc.

Vitamin A

  • supports vision and skin
  • supports teeth and bones along with calcium
  • maintains the immune system
  • found in tomatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, broccoli, etc.

Vitamin B12

  • the absorption of B12 lessens as one ages, due to the changes in conditions of one’s stomach
  • supports nerve cell maintenance
  • helps breakdown of fatty and amino acids
  • found in meats, fish, eggs, milk, etc.

Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D is normally obtained through exposure to the sun
  • Necessary to obtain as we are less exposed to the sun as we age, especially in winter
  • found in egg yolk, fortified milk, salmon, sardine, vitamin D drops etc.

There are several risk factors exposing seniors to malnutrition, and this may not come directly from nutritional factors. For example, seniors who live alone, are house-bound, have a poor appetite, drink several cups of tea/coffee or several glasses of wine every day, are just as likely to be unhealthy as those who do not receive enough nutrients from all the food groups. This means as much as it is important to have a well-planned diet, it is also important to ensure an overall healthy lifestyle.


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