Every time you turn on the television or open a general interest magazine these days, you are bound to be confronted with a story about the startling and ever-growing worldwide problem of obesity. More and more people are unhealthily overweight, to the point where eating can actually endanger our lives. There have always been some individuals that have eaten unhealthily, mainly because naughty foods taste so good, but the population as a whole now has to consider how our diets are affecting us. We can become sluggish and lethargic if we are getting the wrong amounts of nutrients and so conscious thought about what we put into our bodies is essential, and that especially applies to seniors.
As we get older, our metabolism slows down and we can no longer burn calories at the same rate as we used to. It therefore makes it easier for us to put on weight but harder for us to shed it. However, putting on weight has a more negative affect on seniors than it does any other age group. Being overweight can put unnecessary stress on the joints and thus accelerate the affects of arthritis, osteoporosis and other bone and muscle disorders and illnesses. It can also bring about the onset of diabetes, which is more common in seniors than in any other age group as it is. Whilst any senior should enjoy a little of what he or she loves to eat every now and again, no matter how unhealthy it may be, a regular balanced nutritious diet is just what the doctor orders!
A typical senior diet should consist of:
- 5 to 10 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, although more of the latter than the former
- 6 to 10 servings of complex carbohydrates a day, which incorporates rice, pasta, bread and cereals
- 2 or 3 helpings of calcium-based products, which includes milk, cheese and yoghurt (although the low fat variety would work out best)
- 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry or fish a day to provide the body with protein
- A large amount of fiber throughout the day, which can also be found in the cereals, fruit and vegetables mentioned above
All of the foodstuffs in the list above are finely balanced as far as amount are concerned. This diet would fulfil every nutritional need that a senior has and would encourage good health. However, dieticians do advise that seniors stay away from saturated fats and sodium. The latter, also known as salt, is a factor of increased blood pressure. Therefore, salt should only be used sparingly. Most natural foods do contain salt, but in healthy doses, and so excess salt should be avoided. Avoid baking with it if at all possible, and try to resist that liberal sprinkle on your main meal! Saturated fat is actually resistant to the body’s nutritional process. That is to say it is not broken down and used for good within your body. It just sits there and clogs up your arteries. As a result, it is a factor in heart disease, forms of cancer and gallbladder disease, as well as the widespread obesity in society today.
A well balanced diet can boost your health, but a poor diet that does not fulfill all bodily nutritional requirements can actually cause it to deteriorate. In seniors, this is especially dangerous. After all, if you struggle to move the how are you supposed to work off the excess weight? If you are in shape you can avoid immobility. It is therefore a vicious circle that may relate directly to your diet.
All seniors should enjoy life to the fullest extent, but eating healthily on a regular basis can actively extend the amount of time you have left to enjoy it! Make the most of every opportunity because you only get one chance at life. Revolutionize your diet and reap the rewards!