As we get a little older our dietary needs change. Our appetite and how we eat alters depending on what stage of life we are at. When we are younger we seem to be able to eat most things and digestion is easier. As we enter our senior years it is important to keep our energy levels to an optimum so that we continue to enjoy our life. The old saying “we are what we eat” is absolutely true so we should always be mindful of how we fuel our bodies.

For general wellness and to eliminate any chronic illnesses we need the make sure we are having the right amount of minerals, vitamins and fibre. If the appetite is suppressed which is quiet common as we age, it can sometimes appear difficult to maintain the adequate intake. Some key factors to keep an eye on are these.

WATER: making sure we hydrate regularly is very important. Not only does drinking water help with our skin and brain function it also aids our digestion and blood count which keeps everything flowing nicely through our systems. Once we feel thirsty it is often a sign that the body has already hit dehydration mode so it is best to drink small amounts throughout the day to avoid this.

FIBRE: eating foods high in fibre are an excellent way to keep your body energised. Beans and pulses are great along with wholegrain breads and cereals. We should all eat fresh fruit as we know but don’t forget dried fruit is also a benefit to our bodies digestion. Having enough fibre and water as part of daily diet can aid in relieving constipation issues.

DAIRY: Although a lot of people shy away from dairy products because of weight gain it is a great source of fuel for our bone health. Full cream milk, yoghurt and cheese are a fantastic source of calcium which our bones appreciate having to keep the density high. Just a small amount each day and keeping the body moving are great ways to keep the weight regular. If dairy creates an allergy for your body then calcium can be obtained by eating fish with soft bones such as canned salmon. Other great sources of calcium are beans, lentils and almonds.

PROTEIN: Recent studies show that older adults require more protein per body mass than we do as younger adults. Great sources of protein include eggs, soy, seafood, white meat poultry, pork tenderloin and lean beef. All of these products are low in fat which is also great for the diet. Ideally we should aim to eat 20 to 30 grams of protein in each meal to maintain strength and energy.

SALT: Salt is required in everyone’s diet to maintain a balanced healthy system. However too much salt can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease. Our over use of salt generally comes from salt added to food by manufacturers and what we add ourselves.  There is naturally a good amount of salt in the healthy food choices we make. If extra flavour is preferred it is best to add this in the form of herbs and spices as a better option. Selecting reduced salt varieties of food such as sauces and baked beans is always the best choice.

Happy Eating and Living!