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Nutrition For Older Adults: 5 Essential Food Groups For Optimal Health

19th April

19th April

Does your loved one enjoy a healthy, balanced diet? As we age, our needs regarding food change according to our body processes. In celebration of National Nutrition Month, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to the most nutritious food groups for older adults:

Eat the Rainbow

Sticking to the age-old mantra of ‘eat the rainbow’ is a great way to check your plate is working to provide you with the best sources of nutrition. Include a variety of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to ensure your body is getting a wide range of essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Remember to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day, and choose a variety of each for maximum health benefits. Beetroot alone, for example, can offer you fibre, vitamins A and C, folic acid, iron and calcium. Spinach is another brilliant example, as it contains magnesium, potassium, iron, vitamin A and a whole host of other nutrients. You could try making a brightly coloured fruit/vegetable salad, which you can easily prepare and store in airtight containers for a ready-made healthy snack each day!

Switch to Whole Grains

Swap white carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, and rice for whole grains for a healthier alternative. Fibre-rich diets are essential to keep your digestive system working optimally as you get older. High-fibre foods can help you feel fuller for longer since they are a good source of slow-release energy. They also expand when mixed with liquid - so drinking water at the same time can further help you feel satiated. Fibre is also great for regulating blood sugar levels and reducing high cholesterol. From swapping white rice to brown to adding more beans to your diet, there are a variety of ways you can incorporate more fibre into your diet to ensure your body functions optimally.

Include Dairy Products in Your Diet

Dairy provides a generous helping of calcium and vitamin D, both of which help keep bones strong and healthy. As you get older, this is essential for bone health, reducing the risk of fractures and breaks. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt all help to increase bone density and keep you fit and healthy.

Opt For Protein-Rich Foods

Red meats and processed meats are high in saturated fat, which is linked to the onset of a number of health conditions - from high cholesterol to bowel cancer. Limit your intake of processed meats, and swap them for leaner cuts of meat and fish to ensure you get the full benefits with fewer risks. Chicken, turkey, salmon and tuna are all excellent sources of protein. Protein is essential as it can improve muscle tone and strength, aid weight loss by reducing cravings, and boost your metabolism. Plant-based protein options are great for meat-free days, as well as a healthy accompaniment to meat and fish dishes. Lentils, chickpeas, nuts, beans and legumes are all delicious examples - and can be incorporated into the diet in so many ways. You could try adding edamame beans to salads and stir-fries, roasting spice-infused chickpeas for a snack, or substitute meat for tofu as a delicious way to increase your protein consumption.

Spice up Your Dish

Herbs and spices can be easily incorporated into a variety of dishes, and have some incredible health benefits. To name just a few: turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, sage can improve brain function and memory, and cinnamon can help lower your blood sugar levels. Cooking with herbs and spices, or even putting some cinnamon on your morning porridge, can do wonders for your body, and are an essential part of nutrition for older adults. At Wellbeing Care, offering nutritional meals is something we’re passionate about. Browse our website for more information about the care we offer.

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