As people age, they tend to eat fewer calories. This is largely due to a diminished appetite, and the decrease in calories can make it difficult for seniors to get the proper nutrients in their diet. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to a variety of issues, including fatigue, pain, and even heart problems. If you or someone you love is struggling to get enough calories, one or more of these common issues might occur.
Seniors are more likely to experience a chronic magnesium deficiency which can significantly impact heart health. Low magnesium levels could cause high blood pressure and even heart disease due to the role magnesium plays in regulating several key heart functions.
Magnesium-rich foods include leafy greens such as spinach and kale, legumes such as peanuts and chickpeas, and nuts such as almonds and cashews. Whole grains like whole wheat and quinoa are also good sources of magnesium. If you are struggling with getting enough magnesium into your diet you might need to supplement.
Constipation is a very real problem among seniors. In fact, around 33% of people over the age of 60 experience issues with constipation. One major cause of constipation is a diet low in fiber. That is why it is especially important for seniors to increase their intake of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, and whole grains.
Eating more fiber helps improve the digestive tract. Not only does it reduce the risk of constipation, but it also helps maintain a healthy microbiome in your gut. Without enough fiber, your gut bacteria will begin breaking down your intestinal lining for survival.
Nutrient deficiencies can also lead to a decrease in bone density. Your body requires several key nutrients for strong bones. Calcium and vitamin D strengthen bones and prevent bone loss. Of course, your bones are supported by your striated muscles which means that sufficient protein is also vital for bone health. Eat more dairy foods, leafy greens, tofu, and bony fish to get more calcium. Vitamin D is found in fortified milk, oily fish, and eggs. Many of these foods are also rich in protein.
It’s vital to get the proper nutrients at any stage of life. However, the golden years are of particular concern. Talk with your doctor about what nutrients you might be lacking and create a dietary or supplementation plan together. The quality of your diet might just be the difference between a good quality of life in your later years and poor health.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Here’s more to read: Why Seniors Need To Eat A Healthy Diet