Water is essential to life, and people of all ages should be hydrating throughout the day. You may not feel thirsty throughout the day if you aren't expending as much energy, but at least a few drinks will help keep you maintain healthy hydration.
If you don't like water, there are other options to stay hydrated. Beverages such as milk, sports drinks and fruit-infused water give your body what it needs and are more flavorful. Decaffeinated teas are also a great option, as are certain fruits like watermelon, berries, oranges or grapes, if you'd rather supplant those into your diet.
Due to a decrease in muscle mass over time, older adults burn fewer calories per day, so they don't need to take in as many calories to maintain a healthy weight. As their need for calories drops, any excess caloric intake leads to weight gain. While eating as much quantity isn't required, it's important to ensure what you do eat still provides you with the necessary nutrients to avoid any deficiencies.
Building your diet around nutrient-rich foods is a surefire way to get it everything it needs. Regularly incorporating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts helps ensure your body gets the nutrition it needs to function properly. What you drink matters, too, so consider limiting the amount of sugary drinks with meals and opt for something healthier.
You may also consider adding foods that are heavy in fiber and protein to your diet. Fiber is important to your digestive system and helps fight constipation. Vegetables and oats are great sources of fiber. Protein gives you energy, so high-protein foods like eggs, meat, potatoes and fish can give you the extra boost you need to get through the day.
According to Healthline, it's not uncommon for people's appetite levels to change with age. Some of this is partly due to burning fewer calories and partly because people tend to lose their senses of taste and smell as they age. The pangs of hunger may not always be there to summon you to the table, but part of maintaining a healthy diet is remembering to sit down and refuel. Sometimes, sitting with others as they eat can help you find your appetite, so inviting someone to dine with you may be beneficial.
Even at mealtimes, older adults generally tend to eat less food than they used to. This decrease in food volume can lead to nutrition insufficiencies and health issues. To make sure what you are eating is satisfying your dietary needs, shop at health-conscious stores nearby in Kansas City such as The Vitamin Shoppe, Sprouts and GreenAcres Market. They also sell aromatherapy products that can help with nausea and mood. For more on aromatherapy, read this blog.
It can also become difficult to eat when eating patterns change from what they once were. As eating routines are sometimes upset by age, getting yourself to sit down and eat can be a challenge. If you are an eat-by-the-clock sort of person, consider moving your dinner time to another hour and see if the transition works for you.
Maybe you notice your body wanting five small meals throughout the day rather than three sizable meals, or vice-versa. Eating isn't something you can force, so listening to your body and feeding it whenever it's ready keeps your stomach happy and your body sustained. Try to avoid overeating as well. Too much food can make you feel sick and could add unnecessary carbs.
Human metabolism slows down with age. It will take longer to break down food into energy and burn calories. The body also loses its ability to absorb vitamins as efficiently and can create deficiencies. As your digestive system starts breaking things down less effectively, you may consider adding supplements to your diet if there are any gaps in your nutrition such as B12, Vitamin D or calcium.
However, you can help maintain your metabolism with protein-rich foods and plenty of sleep. Physical activity can also help prevent the loss of muscle mass and a dropping metabolic rate, as can eating enough food every day. Consider taking walks and drinking protein shakes to keep your metabolism up.
The best defense against aging is to take care of your body. Exercise, hydration, rest and eating well can counteract many of the dietary changes that come later in life. Making sure you are eating enough every day can prevent malnutrition, energy deficiencies and other health issues from diet-related illnesses. Sticking to your essential food groups and being mindful of your meals can keep you feeling as fresh as ever.
Residents of the Gardens at Barry Road can rely on delicious, nutritious meals and staff who can help with dietary concerns. Whether you're making the choice for assisted living or not, though, ensure you speak with your health care provider about diet needs before making big changes to your lifestyle.