Simplifying Senior Health One Nutrient at a Time

We are please to share another guest article by Hazel Bridges.

As time passes, more and more research are done on how we can be healthier, live longer, and tackle health issues before they arise. Much is still up for debating but one thing is for sure: you need to eat a healthy balanced diet that meets your specific needs.

If you’re following the same meal routine you’ve had for years, it may be time to change things up because an aging body comes with new needs. Seniors in particular face different obstacles than their younger counterparts, but it’s just as important that you receive the essential nutrients your body needs to function smoothly. Here are simple steps seniors can take to nourish healthy living.

Evaluate Your Plate
Pay close attention to what you’ve been eating so you can take stock of which nutrients you’re getting or missing out on. Write down everything you eat for a few days and review your findings yourself or give them to your doctor, nurse, or nutritionist to analyze.

Online tools like the My Plate Plan by the USDA can be helpful in determining the number of calories you need based on your age, sex, weight, and level of activity. However, you shouldn’t rely on this tool alone to guide your diet. You might be lactose or gluten intolerant, or you could be taking a prescribed medication that will interact with the recommended foods.

Our body is a complex ecosystem in which the conditions change rapidly. Everything you put into it — food, drink, medicine, vitamin, or otherwise — plays a role in your overall health. Give yourself the best opportunity for a healthy life by devoting a little time to logging what you eat. Then, dig into what you need.

Measure Your Deficiencies
It’s never good to dwell on what you lack, except when it comes to nutritional deficiencies. If you’re experiencing symptoms of nutritional deficiency, your doctor might suggest blood work to pinpoint exactly what you’re missing, or you can take matters into your own hands and go directly to a laboratory yourself.

Even if you’re not deficient in any nutrient, the nutrients you are putting in your body may not be enough for your body to perform necessary functions at the level you truly need. After receiving the results of your test, you can either supplement your diet with vitamins or completely change it.

Be sure to take some time to monitor your gut health as well. A healthy gut lead to a healthier you, physically and mentally. In fact, probiotics have been shown to improve symptoms of psychological conditions, such as depression and anxiety, according to Susan McQuillan, MS, RDN. Prebiotics, probiotics and high-fiber foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, legumes, and more will improve gut health.

By recognizing what you currently eat and what you’re missing, you’re actively taking steps toward a healthier life. The only thing left is to plan accordingly for any necessary changes to your way of life. Before making any big decisions, you should always consult a doctor.

Create a Strategy for Lasting Health
Knowledge is key when coming up with your path to a healthier life. So, read up and figure out a way to get the nutrients you need one way or another. If your teeth and gums aren’t as strong as they once were, investigate juices or frozen or canned alternatives for vegetables and fruits.

Don’t let any physical limitations keep you from eating healthy. If you aren’t capable of getting around a grocery store comfortably, look into stores that deliver to your home or hire someone to shop a couple hours each week. In home care organizations can help with groceries as part of their services.

If you’re living on a fixed-income, don’t let the cost of “health foods” deter you. There are programs available through the government and nonprofits to ensure seniors have everything they need. It’s possible for you to be healthier and prolong an active life if you take the first step.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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