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How to maintain a healthy diet in later life

As we get older and our bodies change, so do our dietary needs. These changing requirements can make it difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, lowering energy levels and leaving us susceptible to illness. So, to help you maintain a healthy diet in later life, we’ve put together a few tips and pieces of advice. 

Eat a variety of nutrient-packed foods

As we get older, our bodies need fewer calories but just as many vitamins and minerals. So, in order to make sure you get all the goodness you need, make sure to eat a variety of different foods, including: 

  • A range of fruits and vegetables of different colours
  • Whole grain foods such as oatmeal, wholemeal bread and brown rice and pasta
  • Low-fat dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese 
  • Seafood, particularly oily fish like salmon and sardines
  • Food full of protein including meats, beans, eggs and nuts

It can be difficult to find inspiration for new meals so to help avoid eating the same meals each week, there are a few places you can find some great ideas. For example, you can look for recipes online or in your favourite cook book, swap tips with friends and ask them what they eat, browse foodie magazines you find in supermarkets or even peruse the menu of your favourite restaurants to try recreate dishes at home.  

Remember to drink plenty of water 

The older we get, the more prone to dehydration we become because our sense of thirst is not as acute as it used to be. So, it’s important to remember to drink regularly to avoid such symptoms as constipation, urinary tract infections, headaches, dizziness and confusion. One way to keep track of how much you’re drinking throughout the day is to use a bottle or glass that tells you how much liquid it holds. When you get through a glass or bottle, you’ll know exactly how much water you’ve had. Experts recommend drinking around 1.5 litres (that’s about 8 glasses) of water a day. 

Talk to your GP about supplements

The stomachs of people aged 50+ produce less gastric acid than they used to which makes it harder to absorb certain vitamins and minerals, including B12, which looks after our blood and nerves, and B6 which promotes good brain health and folic acid. As such, it can be difficult to get all the nutrients you need from the food you eat, so consider talking to a health professional about supplements you can take to help give your body the boost it needs. 

What vitamins do older people need?

Vitamin D – due to changes in the skin, older people can find it harder to absorb vitamin D so taking supplements and eating lots of fish, eggs, fortified breakfast cereals and margarine can help boost your levels. 

Calcium – this important mineral helps keep bones and teeth healthy and strong. Eating 3-4 portions of dairy products, leafy vegetables and nuts should give you all the calcium you need to maintain healthy levels. 

B vitamins – there is some evidence that older people find it more difficult to absorb B vitamins, which can lead to poor skin, anaemia and neurological problems, among other conditions. Eating lots of fortified cereals, yeast extract and meat can help improve your B vitamin levels, as can a low dose daily supplement. 

Omega 3 fats – fatty acids can help reduce symptoms of conditions which are often associated with old age, such as arthritis and age-related macular degeneration (a reduction in eyesight). You can get omega 3 in oily fish, including salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel.  

Burley’s Home Care are a leading provider of home care in the South and our care packages are tailored to every individual. To discuss your requirements or ask any questions you may have about our care services, please contact us today on 01425 470411