You may have noticed that as you age, your appetite isn’t as large as it once was. Many seniors actually admit to only eating one or two meals a day. The size of your meal doesn’t matter too much, but you should ensure you’re eating on a regular basis as well as acknowledging that your nutritional needs have likely changed. Here’s what you need to know.
Medications Can Change Your Nutritional Needs
A high number of seniors take medications to help with “typical” ailments you suffer from as you age. Arthritic, blood pressure, acid reflux and diuretic are just a few of the types of medications often taken by seniors. You may not think that what you eat can make a difference, but some medications don’t actually work with some foods. Do you like to eat grapefruit for breakfast? Well, it’s likely interfering with the absorption of at least one of your medications. And this isn’t the only food you should be looking out for!
The reality is that the list of possible food and medication interactions is way too long for this post. This is something important, though, so you should get a professional opinion. At your next opportunity, take a few minutes to talk to your pharmacist about which foods should and shouldn’t be consumed with your particular medications.
You’re Likely Not as Active as You Once Were
Not burning off as many calories in a day means you can get away with eating fewer calories. However, it’s a gentle balance to achieve trying to eat enough calories to get your nutritional needs but not so many that you’ll gain weight. Metabolism also slows as you age, and this can bring on some other nutritional deficiencies.
With less activity, you also run the risk of losing muscle mass which leads to feeling weak. Being mindful of your nutritional needs can slow down the loss of muscle mass and keep you feeling stronger and healthier for a lot longer.
Your Body Can Have Trouble Absorbing Nutrients
As we mentioned above, some medications can interfere with the absorption of certain nutrients. And that, along with the fact that aging introduces some extra health concerns which can already interfere with nutrition, means you may have to amp up your nutritional needs.
If your body lacks the ability to absorb nutrients, you’ll likely suffer from digestion issues. Mobility in the gastrointestinal tract slows down which can lead to a variety of health problems. Not only does it block food (and, therefore, nutrients) from being digested at a healthy rate, it can lead to constipation and larger health concerns. This means that fibre-rich foods are an extremely important addition to your meals to both help speed things along and keep things “regular.”
You May Be Drinking Less Water
Stop what you’re doing right now and go drink a glass (or two) of water! Water is important at any age to keep you hydrated. You can be hitting all your nutritional needs with food, but if you’re not drinking enough water, you won’t get the full health benefits.
Water helps to lubricate your joints which get them working better. It gets food and medications moving through your system so they work more efficiently, it helps your organs function properly which prevents sluggishness, and it builds up your cells to keep your skin looking plump and fresh. Make water a priority!
Are You Struggling?
Are you struggling to figure out what to do with this information? Or are you struggling to make healthier food choices and eat enough to meet your nutritional needs? Speaking to your doctor, pharmacist or dietitian is a great place to start.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a retirement community such as Trillium Communities, we prepare your meals and keep your nutritional needs in mind. Feel free to talk to our staff if you have any questions or concerns. If you need further information about boutique living at Trillium Communities, contact us today.