As one ages, their metabolic rate drops.
According to Dorie Oja, a nutritionist at the Redwood Area Hospital, one can expect a drop on their metabolism every decade after age 30.
What that means is as people age the need for caloric intake declines, but what Oja cautioned is the nutritional requirements remain the same.
In other words, one needs to eat less but to make sure what they eat has everything they need to eat healthy.
Oja talked about the importance of eating healthy for an aging population at a recent session held at the Redwood Area Hospital in conjunction with the Redwood County Volunteers program and the hospital’s Caring Connections.
“As our bodies change so should our diet,” Oja said, adding getting the most nutrient dense foods into one’s diet is important for good health.
The reality is as one ages the amount of lean tissue in the body begins to diminish, and that is often replaced with fat, especially with those who are not being careful about how they eat.
Oja recognizes the realities of aging, as one gets older there are myriad changes going on which all may be impacted by diet.
Oja also said she realizes for some seniors the issue goes well beyond just choosing what to eat.
At times, especially when it is hard to get up, one’s focus is not on what to eat but whether or not to eat a all. Oja said this is especially true with one’s intake of water.
After all, she added, while recommendations for water continue to be stressed at any age, she knows when one drinks a lot of water the demand to use the bathroom also continues, and when it is hard to get up choosing to just reduce the amount of water being consumed becomes an easier decision.
Water is crucial for good health, and even if one’s sense of thirst may decline as one ages it is important to keep drinking it.
The modified nutritional guidelines continue to suggest eight glasses of fluids each day as an important part of good health.
Oja said there are other important options to consider when selecting one’s diet, such as antioxidants, which are found in food such as fruits and vegetables. She said the rule if thumb is to find those fruits and vegetables with the best colors, as the brighter, reds, oranges and greens are the most nutrient dense.
Oja said a good source of monounsaturated fat is olive oil, adding use of it could improve HDLs as well as potentially having an impact on memory.
Berries are always a good choice, according to Oja, as they also include antioxidants and can help to combat cancer and certain degenerative brain diseases.
Page 2 of 2 - Another important option to add in one’s diet is fiber, and Oja suggests beans as a good source of that important nutrient.
Beans may help one feel full longer, which means one may be able to maintain caloric intake with added fiber in the diet.Fiber also helps with the digestive system, which as one gets older is also a source of change. Eating fish is not only a good source of protein it also includes Omega 3 fats which can help to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Oja also suggests adding nuts to one’s diet, as well as diet and whole grains.
Oja said if one is not able to find ways to cook for themselves there are programs available, such as Meal on Wheels and Senior Dining which can help provide that nutrition one needs.
Oja added getting exercise is also very important, and said a multi-vitamin may be a good supplement but it should never become a primary source of one’s nutrient intake.
For more info on how to eat healthy for you, contact your physician.