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General Health and Nutrition in Older Adults

Everyone wants to be a happy, healthy individual even as we get older. It becomes harder to keep track of how much exercise you are participating in, the food that you eat, and the nutrients that you lack as you age. As well as that, our appetites get weaker, and our ability to notice when we are thirsty diminishes. This is where healthcare providers come in to ensure that the individual is getting the nutrients and hydration they need each day to be the healthiest version of themselves. Sometimes, we are unable to seek a healthcare professional, or we feel as if we can manage on our own. This is totally alright, and I am happy to share some tips and tricks regarding how to stay healthy as you age.

Some things that we have to keep in mind include our lack of appetite, our diminishing feeling of thirst, our change in taste buds, and our decreased ability to participate in some physical activity that we had been able to do well before. Beginning with a lack of appetite, it is important to have a schedule for yourself so that you know when it is time for you to eat throughout the day. You may not want to eat at these times, but they are scheduled and there for you to remember that although you may not be hungry, it would be a great time to feed your body. Some nutrients to take note of include: protein intake for tissue repair and energy level, dietary fiber for normal bowel function, lower sodium and folate intake, and increased calcium intake for stronger bones. Our bodies become more weak and brittle as we get older, so these nutrients are important to maintain a healthy body and increase our energy levels. As well as that, with decreased appetite, it is okay to eat less than you normally would, but giving your body a little bit of food can go a long way.

Continuing, hydration is extremely important for our overall health at ALL ages and it gets harder to ‘feel’ thirsty as we get older. This is another thing that we have to schedule to do throughout the day so that we get the proper amount of water that we need each day to feel energized, well, and ready to conquer the day.

Another aspect of our lives that tends to fall through the cracks as we get older is the physical activity that we participate in each day. Some think that physical activity means running, doing cardio, or weight lifting but that is not always the case. Physical activity, especially as our bodies age, can just mean walking or playing with grandkids outside. As long as our bodies are moving for at least 30-60 minutes a day, we are participating in a good amount of physical activity. Physical activity aids in muscle health, cardiovascular health, and overall wellness.

Aging is great and means that we have lived a great life and have more life to live! To make the most of the years ahead, we must remember to feed our bodies well, remain hydrated, and be as active as we can be.

Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2920201/

https://foodinsight.org/dietary-guidelines-for-americans-healthy-aging/

 

Written By Ashton Bronson

Dietetic Intern, ACU

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