Getting proper nutrition can be challenging for everyone, but especially as we age for a variety of reasons, including changing tastes, physical or dental conditions, and lack of access to healthy foods.
“It’s critical that people of all ages get proper nutrition, but especially seniors, and particularly now with the spread of COVID-19 in the world,” says Dr. Gina Conflitti, chief medical officer with Cigna’s Medicare Advantage based in the US. “Good nutrition helps older adults stay active and vital, and can help them stave off or better manage chronic conditions.”
Here are the nutrition tips:
• Make healthy choices. Add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your plate for colourful, nutrient-rich, fibre-filled meals. Add flavour with spices and herbs instead of salt. Stay hydrated with plenty of water. Even light exercise can stimulate appetite and strengthen bones and muscles.
• Consult your doctor. If your appetite is changing or you’re losing weight, talk to your primary care physician. There could be an underlying reason for these changes. For instance, your medication might be affecting your appetite. Or maybe you’re dealing with depression. Your doctor can work with you to identify possible causes.
• Adapt to changing tastes. There are a number of ways to change your eating habits to improve your nutrition, from eating more frequent, smaller meals to trying new foods and cooking styles.
• See a dentist. A dentist may be able to address any dental problems impacting your ability to enjoy food.
• Explore options. If mobility is an issue, look for local organisations offering transportation or meal delivery to older adults. Good nutrition helps patients regain their strength and energy faster for better recoveries.
Proper nutrition is essential to overall health. As you age, keep nutrition top of mind and explore new ways to eat well.