As we get older our nutritional requirements change. It is important that we are feeding our bodies a diet that supports all of the changing requirements and needs that it has as we age.
Here are some of the requirements for seniors:
1. Calcium rich foods
Menopause puts women at an increased need for calcium, due to the loss of bone density they experience because of lower oestrogen levels. Ensure you are eating enough calcium rich foods (e.g. dairy products, almonds, green leafy vegetables, tofu, and fish with bones) and engaging in weight bearing exercises. Women and men over 70 years old need 1300mg of calcium per day (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2014).
2. Good fats
Care must be taken to avoid saturated and trans fats, and instead include good fats in your diet (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). Avocado, unsalted nuts and seeds are all examples of good fats. In addition, oily fish such as salmon and tuna provide essential omega-3 oils which are known to reduce the risk of heart disease and depression.
3. LESS salt is better
A diet high in salt can increase the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Adding salt to foods can be very dangerous! Herbs and spices can provide enough flavour to your meals without having to add a lot of salt. Around 1 tsp of salt is more than enough for the day, which is not a lot when you think about it!
Protein is especially important for older adults to ensure a healthy immune system, skin and tissue repair and skeletal strength. Lean meats, lentils, beans, tofu and low-fat dairy products are great sources of protein for seniors. The recommended intake of protein for women over 70 years old is 57g/day, with men needing a little more. Our delicious chicken and lean beef meals are examples of some of our protein-rich meals.
Fibre in the diet has many proven benefits, including a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease and improvements in the management of diabetes and high cholesterol. Wholegrains, whole fruits, vegetables and beans are all amazing sources of fibre. Aim to get around 21g of fibre if you’re a woman over 50 and 30g if you’re a man over 50.
As easy as it may sound to eat a healthy balanced diet that includes all these things, it is actually very hard for seniors to meet their nutritional needs. Many seniors may be living alone and find it hard to cook for themselves, some may have chewing or swallowing problems, and others may experience physical problems that make it hard to them to cook.
Having even just one pre-prepared, nutritious meal every day can benefit your health greatly and provide you with essential nutrients and vitamins that you might not be getting by cooking yourself!
We have a number of different plans available, making it easy for you to order the right amount of meals that suits your lifestyle. Visit http://www.healthymealstoyourdoor.com.au/Gold/ to see our current offer, and view the menu and prices.
National Health and Medical Research Council. (2014). Nutrient reference values for Australia and New Zealand including recommended dietary intakes. Available from: https://www.nrv.gov.au/