The nutritional needs of an older person are much different from those of a teenager or even those of a younger adult. The body of an older person handles nutrients differently, and this should influence their dietary choices. For seniors, eating well is important for a longer life and an improved quality of life.
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Issues That Impact Seniors' Nutritional Needs
In order to understand why eating well is so important for seniors, it is important to look at some of the physiological changes that come with age, including the following:
A Slower Metabolism
A slower metabolism is a natural byproduct of getting older; however, it will be even more of a problem if a senior does not get enough exercise. A slower metabolism means that fewer calories are burned, which means that a senior will have to eat less if they want their weight to remain in a healthy range.
Changes in the Digestive System
Because an older person's body may not produce as much of the fluids needed to process foods, they may not be getting enough of the nutrients they need. For example, their body may have a hard time processing folic acid and certain B vitamins.
Lack of Appetite
Seniors often take medications for health conditions. Many of these medications may have nausea or lost appetite as side effects. The health conditions may also cause a loss of appetite.
Any of the problems above can result in poor nutrition.
Benefits of Good Nutrition for Seniors
A Longer Life
Muscles, bones and other body parts can be kept strong for a longer period. Nutritious food can help to boost a person's immune system to fight disease. A sensible diet will reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
A Sharper Mind
The brain needs the right nutrients to do its job. Fruit, nuts and leafy vegetables can help with a person's focus and lower their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The right diet will give a senior more energy so that they can be active. It can also improve their overall sense of well-being. They will feel better and look better.