OpenPlacement Community > OpenPlacement Blog > Diet And Nutrition In Older Adults (INFOGRAPHIC)

Diet And Nutrition In Older Adults (INFOGRAPHIC) Lara Baez

July 16th, 2014

Diet and nutrition in older adults is crucial! In one of our previous infographics, we saw the detrimental effects of malnutrition in the elderly population. That has inspired this infographic, which focuses on the components of a good diet in the over-50 population.

Healthy eating keeps your mind and body strong, and greatly improves overall health… So start eating right today! Please like and share this Infographic if you find it helpful, and comment your thoughts or any experiences you’ve had below—we’d love to hear them! Also, check out our other helpful Infographics here.

 

Diet And Nutrition

Diet And Nutrition In Older Adults

Benefits Of Healthy Eating

  • Live longer & stronger: Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones and organs strong for the long haul. A proper diet boosts immunity, reduces risk of hearth disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and bone loss. 
  • Sharpen mind: Key nutrients are essential for the brain to do its job. People who eat a nutrient-rich diet can improve their focus and decrease risk for Alzheimer’s Disease.
  • Feel better: Wholesome meals give you more energy to help you look better, resulting in a self-esteem boost. When your body feels good, you feel happier inside and out!

Calorie Count

  • Men:
    • Very Active: 2400-2800 calories/day
    • Active: 2200-2400 calories/day
    • Not Active: 2000 calories/day
  • Women:
    • Very Active: 2000 calories/day
    • Active: 1800 calories/day
    • Not Active: 1600 calories/day

Foods to Focus On

  • Fruits: Focus on whole fruits rather than juices for more fiber and vitamins. Tired of the same old? Go for color-rich pickings like berries and melon to mix it up! Aim for 1.5-2 servings per day.
  • Veggies: Choose antioxidant-rich, dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach and broccoli. Also, go for orange and yellow vegetables such as carrots an squash. Aim for 2-2.5 cups per day.
  • Calcium: Calcium is vital for bone health as we age. IT helps prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Dairy options: milk, yogurt, cheese. Nondairy options: tofu, broccoli, almonds, kale. Aim for 1200 mg per day.
  • Grains: Be smart with your carbs! Choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and fiber. Aim for 6-7 ounces per day.
  • Protein: Try to divide your protein intake evenly throughout the day. Aim for high-quality protein, and vary sources instead of relying on red meat. Eat more fish, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, and seeds. Aim for 1-1.5 g per kg of body weight.

Key Vitamins & Minerals

  • Water: As we age, we are prone to dehydration. This is because our bodies lose some of their ability to regular fluid levels. Also, our sense or thirst may not be as sharp. Proper hydration helps prevent urinary tract infections, constipation, and even confusion. 
  • Vitamin B: After 50, your stomach produces less gastric acid, making it difficult to absorb Vitamin B12. Vitam in B is necessary to keep blood and nerves vital. Get 2.4 mcg of Vitamin B12 through fortified foods or a vitamin supplement.
  • Vitamin D: We get most of our Vitamin D intake from sun and certain foods (fish, egg yolk, milk). But, with age, our skin becomes less efficient in making Vitamin D. If you have limited exposure to the sun, ask your doctor about fortified food or a multivitamin.

Changing Dietary Needs

  • Slowing digestive system: Due to a slowing digestive system, we generate less saliva an stomach acid as we age. This makes it difficult to process vitamins and minerals (like B6, B12 and folic acid), which are necessary to maintain alertness, memory, and circulation. Up your fiber intake, and talk to your doctor about possible supplements. 
  • Medication & Illness: Some prescription medications and health problems can influence appetite, but they may also affect taste. This may lead us to add more salt and sugar to our food. Ask your doctor about overcoming medication side effects, and specific healthy conditions.
  • Weakened senses: Our taste and smell diminish with age. So you may be inclined to salt your food more heavily than before. Instead, use herbs, spices and healthy oils to add flavor to food.
  • Loneliness & depression: Loneliness and depression effect our diet. For some, feeling down leads to overeating. For others, it triggers underrating. Be aware if your emotional problems are affecting your diet, and take action by consulting your doctor.
  • Metabolism: After 40, our metabolism slows. Even if we eat the same amount as when we were young, we are likely to gain weight because we burn fewer calories.

Tips For Wholesome Eating

  • Reduce sodium: This will prevent water retention and high BP. Look for low sodium label and season with herbs and spices. 
  • Add fiber: Avoid constipation, lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, maintain healthy weight, and feel fuller longer. Increase intake of fruit, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and beans.
  • Cook smart: The best way to prepare veggies and preserve nutrients is to steam or sauté in olive oil. Try broccoli or asparagus this way. And forget boiling!
  • Enjoy good fats: This will protect your body against heart disease, raise good cholesterol, and lower bad cholesterol. Try olive oil, salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, and avocados.
  • Avoid “bad” carbs: Avoid white flour, white rice, and refined sugar. They cause spikes in blood sugar, and are short-lived energy. Look for complex carbs: whole grains, beans, fruit, and veggies.
  • Look for hidden sugar: Sugar can be hidden in bread, canned goods, frozen dinner, fast food, and condiments. Sugar can be disguised as corn syrup, molasses, cane juice, fructose, etc. Opt for fresh or frozen veggies, and choose low-carb or sugar-free options when possible.
  • Put 5 colors on your plate: Fruits and veggies rich in color correspond to this rich in nutrients.

It’s your health…Start eating right today!

Sources: helpguide.org, everydayhealth.com

About Lara Baez

Lara is the Social Media Strategist summer intern at OpenPlacement. She is a rising senior at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD), and hopes to go to medical school and become a physician.

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