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Senior Health: How to Make Healthy Living Happen for You

Healthy living is crucial for senior health. In order to live a long, healthy life it is important to take extra care as you age. A major factor in taking care of yourself is by adjusting to senior diets.

What type of food should you be eating and how should you be eating? The following are tips on how to adjust your daily food intake.

More protein, less calories

Dietitians strongly advise that older adults consider either the DASH, TLC, or Mediterranean diets. These diets are ideal for weight loss and controlling health conditions such as high blood pressure.

Just like with other groups, weight is an issue for seniors. As you age, your metabolism slows down, meaning you need to decrease your calorie count in order to maintain a healthy weight. Generally, older men should be eating between 2,000 to 2,800 calories a day and older women should be eating 1,600 to 2,200 calories a day.

On the opposite end, seniors who are not in excellent health will face other health issues and need more protein in their diets. Not having enough protein in your diet can put you at an increased risk of osteoporosis or lower immune function.

For situations like this, you don’t have to follow a specific diet, but you should make the effort to maintain a well-rounded diet that includes extra protein. This means that you need to use your calories in a smart way and not have meals consisting of toast and tea or coffee and a bagel. If you prefer meatless protein options, consider trying beans, chickpeas, and lentils.

To maintain a healthy, regular diet, it is important to make it fit into your life without a lot of effort. Something like an Ornish diet that is low-fat would be harder to incorporate into a senior’s healthy living.

Find balance in simplicity

It is crucial that you figure out a diet that is balanced, but also simple. The more complicated a diet plan is, the harder it will be to follow in your everyday life. For example, diets like Weight Watchers are ideal because they are so simple to follow.

Weight Watchers assigns food with points that you can add up on a daily basis to maintain a healthy diet. You fill out information about yourself such as age, sex, height, and weight. You tell them how much weight you want to lose and the system will set a personal goal for you. By following this system, you are not required to do a lot of thinking to figure out the proper balance for your diet.

It is important that when you are finding a diet, you find one that you will be able to commit to long-term to make a lasting effect on your health. This will help you maintain your health rather than give you a quick, unsustainable fix. Contributing factors to maintaining a long-term diet is not only simplicity, but variety as well.

Diabetes diets

For those who have diabetes or are at risk of developing it, diets such as Mediterranean or DASH are ideal for helping with management and prevention. These diets include and encourage a variety of foods, but also help you keep track of how many carbs you are consuming.

Heart health

People that are struggling with high cholesterol will need to adjust their diets to include more low-saturated fat, lean red meats, fish, and low-fat dairy foods. For seniors with high cholesterol, it is important to avoid baked goods that have trans fats.

Senior diets

New diets can seem overwhelming even with printed and online information. It can seem hard to sit down and figure out the details on your own. For older adults who need to make a change but do not know where to start, making an appointment with a dietitian can be a smart first step.

Systems like the Weight Watchers point system are known for working as well as they do because it makes picking healthy, balanced meals easy to do on your own. However, there are companies that offer prepared meals for everyday life that help you keep your calories low, but a steady amount throughout the day. Plans like these are ideal for senior health.

Despite these meal plans making things simple to follow, the cost can often be a problem for seniors who are living on a tight budget. Some of the meal planning companies can cost an average of $15 to $23 per day. Those numbers do not include other fees like enrollment and consultation expenses. The monthly costs for Weight Watchers can vary, but it typically ranges from $20 to $70 for nonfood expenses.

Fruits and Veggies

Two of the top ranked “Best Plant-Based Diets” are the Mediterranean and Flexitarian diets. The Flexitarian Diet is all about helping people obtain the benefits of a vegetarian diet, but also continuing to eat some animal products.

These types of diets are common for seniors since they often do not eat enough fruits or veggies on a regular basis. People often find it hard to eat healthy, fresh food while staying on a limited budget, but it is possible. Most grocery stores have frozen fruits and veggies that are typically cheaper than fresh foods.

Hydrate

As you age, your sense of thirst usually starts to decline. While this is normal, it is still crucial that you are drinking enough water to avoid becoming dehydrated.

Drinks such as fruit juice or sodas contain a lot of empty calories and are not healthy to consume all day long. Rather than having a drink high in calories that does not hydrate you, try drinking flavored water or add a slice or fruit like lemons or oranges. 

It is important to monitor your tea and coffee intake due to the caffeine. While caffeine can dehydrate you, they are not as dehydrating as health professionals used to think.

Maintaining a healthy weight and diet are important for all age groups, but as you age, it becomes more important. Healthy living can impact seniors more since so many things are constantly changing as you age. Senior health often gets overlooked, but you can do the research and find a diet or plan that is balanced and simple enough for you to stick with.

Hannah Verret
Hannah Verret is a Content Developer at Med-Alert Pros in Memphis, TN. Hannah has been working in content creation throughout her entire adult career. When Hannah isn't writing or organizing social media posts, she's spending her time reading and loving on her many pets.

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