Nutrition During Retirement30 Apr 2021
A healthy diet is recommended for all ages, but it becomes especially important as you grow older. Believe it or not, seniors are extremely susceptible to malnutrition for the following reasons:
- The body’s ability to absorb nutrients decreases
- Metabolism – and appetite – slows down
During your golden years, you need to ensure that every meal you have is packed with as many nutrients as possible. Here’s what you should focus on:
1. Target nutrient dense food
As we age, we find ourselves becoming less hungry and interested in food. This is because our sense of taste and smell gets weaker, which causes our appetites and food preferences to change.
To ensure you continue getting the proper nutrition you need, go for more nutrient-dense foods, which give you what your body needs without excess calories. These include:
- Proteins such as eggs, poultry, seafood, lean meat, seeds, nuts and beans
- Fruits and vegetables in a wide rainbow of colours
- Whole-grain foods such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and brown rice
2. Enhance your fibre intake
As we grow older, the walls of our gastrointestinal tract thicken and the contractions become lesser. This slows down our digestive system which can lead to constipation.
Foods rich in fibre include nuts, whole grain cereal, whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice, brown bread, fruits and vegetables. They help promote proper digestion by bulking up stools and making them easier to pass. Other health benefits include reducing the risk of heart disease, diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestine), hemorrhoids, gallstones and kidney stones.
3. Focus on healthy fats
Healthy fats refer to monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found in avocados, nuts, seeds, full-fat yogurt, real cheese, vegetable oils and fish.
These fats provide plenty of health benefits such as reducing your LDL cholesterol (the “bad” type) which can clog your arteries. Healthy fats can also help with inflammation and building cell membranes.
4. Cut down on sugar
Excessive sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
When it comes to sugar, less is more. Enjoy the occasional sweet treat but focus more on whole, unprocessed foods. Doing so automatically reduces the amount of sugar in your diet.
5. Don’t forget to stay hydrated
Hydration is a key part of elderly care. Our body’s ability to retain water decreases as we get older, along with our sense of thirst. This means we may not feel thirsty until we are significantly dehydrated, which can lead to drowsiness, fatigue, heat exhaustion and muscle pain, among others,
The easiest way to check for dehydration is to observe the colour of your urine - light and transparent means you have enough water in your body, while bright or dark yellow means you need more water.
Consume water throughout the day, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Limit caffeine beverages such as coffee and tea, as it can cause you to urinate more frequently. However, if you have a health condition such as kidney or heart failure, you should follow your doctor’s advice on fluid intake.
Your golden years are the time to focus on the things you enjoy doing. To fully benefit from a rewarding, fun and engaging retirement, you need to be healthy. And to be healthy, you need to eat well. The tips above can help you maintain a healthy weight and get the nutrition you need.
In addition, visit your doctor regularly to reduce your chances of getting sick. Ensure you have health insurance to protect you against high medical expenses that can derail your retirement. If you don’t have one yet, it’s not too late. Browse here for our range of medical plans you can consider.