August 15th, 2013 | Posted by Aisra in Aging | Diet

Health is a state of being that can be relative to what we put into our bodies. We cannot cure all illness or stop the hands of time. What we can do is treat our bodies well and enjoy the health benefits that result. Senior citizens’ nutritional needs vary little from the nutritional needs of other age groups, yet there are some slight differences. Our younger bodies are able to withstand a lack of nutrition a little easier than our bodies as we age. It becomes more and more important to get proper nutrients into our bodies, including the following:

  1. Fiber – Fiber serves two purposes. It fills us up more quickly than empty carbohydrates (carbohydrates that lack nutrition) and it aids in digestion. Fiber forms the bulk of our waste, so encourages our intestinal tract to continue functioning properly.
  2. Protein – As we get older, we need to work harder at keeping our muscle toned. Muscle wasting occurs naturally with age and getting enough protein can help slow this process. Protein is also very important for transporting necessities such as hormones into our body’s cells.
  3. Calcium – Osteoporosis happens when calcium levels have reached lows that allow bone cell loss. Calcium helps strengthen bones and teeth. Because falls happen more often when we are older, it is quite important to keep bones strong to avoid breaks.
  4. Vitamin D – Vitamin D assists our nervous system with sending nerve signals. A lack of vitamin D has been shown in studies to be a possible cause for diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  5. Vitamin C – This vitamin boosts our immune system’s ability to fight off viruses like the common cold. Because age lowers our immune system, colds and the flu can become deadly to senior citizens.
  6. Vitamin E – This vitamin helps the skin keep some of its suppleness. Some studies show that it is also helpful in warding off respiratory diseases.
  7. Vitamin A – The eye benefits greatly from vitamin A. The photoreceptors in the retina specifically improve in function with optimal levels of Vitamin A. When a vitamin A deficiency is experienced, blurry vision can occur.
  8. B vitamins – Known for helping to provide energy and grow hair and nails, this vitamin has also been show in studies to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
  9. Omega 3’s – These nutrients have just “come into fashion” and are now being proven in scientific studies to enhance and improve joint health.
  10. Water – The need for water cannot be overstated. When not enough water has been consumed, dehydration will set in quickly. Dehydration is a frequent cause for hospitalizing in the elderly and can result in mental confusion and exhaustion among other symptoms.
Staying hydrated is as simple as drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day. Getting the rest of the aforementioned nutrients can be as simple as eating a diet full of vegetables, some fruits, nuts (if you are not allergic), seeds, lean meats, eggs, and beans.

 


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