When people age, their needs for nutrition change. It is important for elderly to eat healthy foods that are full of nutrients. Some medications, as well as illness, can affect the appetite of older people. To maintain health and independence longer, elderly people should make sure that when they do eat, that the food is good for them and will help maintain health. Healthy food choices can be made at home, in restaurants, and at the grocery store.
The types of foods that should be included in an elderly person’s diet should include foods that promote the following:
- Circulation (soy products, fruits, seeds)
- Strong bones (cheese, milk, salmon, legumes, beet greens)
- Resistance to illness (apples, citrus, broccoli)
- Mental alertness (high protein foods, complete carbohydrates, omega-3 fats)
Foods that are high in antioxidants are also recommended for elderly people.
Healthy food choices for elderly in restaurants may include eating low fat meats, salads, vegetables, and grilled foods. For the elderly that has trouble maintaining weight, fresh whole grain breads can be chosen at restaurants. Going to restaurants that serve fresh, healthy, and homemade dishes will
Italian food is made with tomatoes, which are high in antioxidants. Cooked tomatoes, like what is found Italian tomato sauce for pasta contains the antioxidant, Lycopene, which gives tomatoes their deep red color. Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C.
Cheese is high in calcium, which helps build strong bones. Lasagna and other Italian dishes with cheese are good choices for elderly because they are at risk for fractures and broken bones.
Many studies have proved that for some, a glass of wine with a meal is very healthy, especially red wines.
When mental alertness in the elderly seems to be diminishing, before concluding that they need additional care or are suffering from Alzheimer’s, check the person’s diet. The diet may cause low blood sugar. Drops in blood sugar can cause mental confusion. Changes in hormones for women can also cause mental confusion. When healthy food choices are being made and there still seems to be diminished mental alertness, ask the pharmacist about the medications being prescribed and if they may be the cause. If yes, make an appointment with the doctor to discuss alternatives and any new medications that might be available.
Going to a relaxing restaurant that offers healthy food choices, like Mama Jennie’s in Miami, Florida, can keep healthy eating from becoming boring.