Healthy Nutrition as We Age

Happy New Year! It’s during this time of year that many people are taking action on their weight loss and fitness resolutions. You might have noticed the health food aisles at your local supermarket are a little more crowded and there are more people waiting in line at the gym.

Unfortunately, nearly 80 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions fail to achieve them. While these statistics are surprising, they are also understandable when you consider most people try to accomplish them without the guidance and support of skilled professionals. People of all ages want to be healthy, but it becomes especially important as we grow older.

At Gulf Coast Health Care (GCHC), eating well isn’t just a New Year’s resolution; it’s a way of life. The GCHC dietary department can help ensure you’re getting the proper nutrition and rehabilitation you need to support your unique healthcare needs.

How can nutrition help me stay healthy as I age?

Aging is linked to a variety of changes including nutrient deficiencies and decreased quality of life. Generally speaking, older adults need fewer calories—but their nutrient needs are just as high or higher than when they were younger. For this reason, it is extremely important to eat nutrient-rich, whole foods every day. Here are a few easy nutritional changes you can make to help prevent deficiencies and other age-related changes:

  • Drink (and eat) more water
    As you age, your sense of thirst lessens, and your kidneys aren’t able to conserve water as well. Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat foods with high water content, like watermelon and cucumbers, to avoid dehydration.
  • Consider supplements
    Supplements can help you get your daily dose of B12, Vitamin D and Calcium. These three powerhouses help digestion and prevent bone loss—two things that we all need help with as we age.
  • Choose more nutrient-rich foods
    Though older adults require fewer calories they need just as many, if not more, nutrients as everyone else. Choose nutrient-dense foods like dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish and lean meats.
  • Eat more fiber
    Our digestive system naturally slows down with age, which can lead to constipation. Eating foods rich in fiber will help promote proper digestion by moving food through the digestive tract more efficiently.
  • Eat more Omega-3 fatty acids
    Omega-3s can help keep your brain healthy as you age. Try adding foods like salmon, tuna, trout, flaxseed and walnuts to your diet to support healthy brain function.

At GCHC, our senior rehab services include ongoing nutritional guidance on how to eat a well-balanced diet and stay as healthy as possible as you grow older. Our certified dietary managers work with patients to help maintain a healthy weight, stay energized and get the nutrients you need to live a long and healthy life.