Nutrition is the only remedy that can bring full recovery and can be used with any
treatment. Remember, food is our best medicine!
-- Bernard Jensen
With age, the meaning of healthy eating, a balanced diet and proper nutrition changes to a very large extent. And one of the moving factors behind the same has been the changes in metabolic activities as with age the rate of metabolism slows down. The slowing down of metabolic activities as you age means you need fewer calories than before.
However, fewer calories do not mean you can cut on the crucial nutrients you need. In fact, your body requires more of those crucial nutrients which fill a variety of functions to keep one healthy in terms of physical, mental, and psychological aspects. Often it has been observed that to upkeep the daily requirements of aging people supplement their diet with medicine.
However, if you agree with Bernard Jensen ‘food is one's best medicine'. The exceptional health sector pioneer, who spent over 60 years in the holistic health sector, rightly points out that ‘Nutrition is the only remedy that can bring full recovery and can be used with any treatment.’
This stands true as it has been observed in research and case studies that establish the fact that a balanced diet (as per age) is most crucial to one’s overall health status of a person at that point in time.
A balanced diet is a combination of a variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes – lentils and beans – nuts, resins and whole grains, including wheat, brown rice, unprocessed maize, oats and millet. One should eat a minimum of 400 grams of fruits and vegetables daily, which should be on top of potatoes, cassava, sweet potatoes and other starchy roots.
Let’s examine some of the key balanced diet components, as per their grouping, which is essential for elderly people for maintaining sound mental, physical as well as psychological health.
Fresh Fruits & Vegetables:
The most suitable and balanced food for seniors should not only include the nutrients they need but also the optimum calories they require. A healthy diet for senior citizens is broadly categorized into five major groups, with fruits and vegetables being in the one. This group mainly provides the following dietary and nutrient components which are very essential for seniors. These dietary components are:
Beta-carotene (commonly called Vitamin A): The aforementioned vitamins are found abundantly in yellow, orange and green leafy fruits and vegetables like carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, and winter squash
Vitamins C and E: If vitamin C protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and skin wrinkling. Then vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant, protects cells from oxidative stress. Hence, adequate consumption of vitamin C and E are very essential for the body to function normally. It becomes even more essential for seniors.
Some of the rich sources of vital vitamins C and E are Mamey Sapote, Avocado, Mango, Kiwifruit, Blackberries, Black Currants, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Pine Nuts, Peanuts, Rainbow Trout, Turnip Greens and Atlantic Salmon.
Folate or Folic Acid: Folate of folic acid (vitamin B9) is one of the 8 vitamin B, commonly referred to as complex vitamin B complex. The adequate amount of folic acid is very essential for seniors as the deficiency of the same may result in loss of memory (which may cause dementia), forgetfulness and even aphasia. Folic acid is a must for seniors. Dark green leafy vegetables (like turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli) beans, peanuts and sunflower seeds are rich sources of folic acid or say vitamin B9.
Phosphorus: It is one of the key nutrients for people, especially for elders as it is responsible for the growth, maintenance, and repair of all tissues and cells. Besides, it’s also essential for the production of DNA and RNA (the genetic building blocks). It is also pivotal in helping balance and uses other vitamins and minerals (like vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, and zinc) in the body. The rich sources of phosphorus are dairy products, red meat, poultry, seafood, legumes, and nuts.
Zinc and Magnesium: The good sources of Zinc and Magnesium are meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products, eggs, and whole grains. While Zinc supports the immune system and muscles, Magnesium is pivotal for metabolic activities and muscle health and helps manage sleep. The balanced intake of these minerals helps in building muscle strength and stamina and speeds muscle recovery. Moreover, these also help in improving the quality of sleep.
The consumption of these fresh fruits and vegetables helps one to maintain a good intake of these key vitamins and minerals which factors in maintaining a good health condition by avoiding health risks like stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
The food in these groups includes agricultural produce whose nutrient-filled outer layer or bran has not been removed before its consumption. This group of food includes oatmeal and brown rice to whole wheat, popcorn, millet, etc. These are excellent sources of dietary fiber and other essential carbohydrates. These agri-products are rich sources of folate, iron, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and selenium.
These foods are naturally rich in fiber and help in maintaining healthy body weight. Besides, it also helps in lowering the risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and other health problems.
Fat-free Dairy Products:
Daily products like milk, yogurt, and cheese all come in fat-free and low-fat options and which are very healthy for seniors as their bodies cannot easily process the full-fat products. These fat-free dairy products are rich in Calcium and Vitamin D. And these are very essential for elderly people because if vitamin C protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and skin wrinkling then vitamin D helps in maintaining bone strength. And together they allow elderly people to maintain a healthy life having a balanced physical life.
Lean Meat, Poultry, Fish, Eggs & Tofu:
Besides vitamins, minerals and dietary fibers, Protein is also very essential for aging people. The deficiency of the same leads to many complications among seniors. The nutrients contained in these dietary sources are Vitamin B12, Essential fatty acids, Zinc, Iron and Iodine.
Among these, Vitamin B12 is the most crucial as its deficiency leads to tingling, numbness, burning, poor balance, and trouble walking. Moreover, damaged nerve cells in the brain can result in memory problems, irritability, and even dementia. According to some recent studies in the US and UK, it has been observed that about 20% of elderly people (60 years and above) are deficient in vitamin B12. Moreover, essential fatty acids cannot be processed by our body and it has to be supplied by these dietary supplements. Which will help the elderly to maintain good health and a balanced & somewhat independent life.
Nuts, Seeds & Legumes:
Peanuts, Almonds, Walnuts, Sunflower seeds, Pistachios, Beans, Peas and Lentils are rich sources of plenty of essential protein, vitamins, and minerals. Naturally, these agricultural products are very rich in fat. And, therefore, it is highly advised to seniors to include a very calculated amount in their diet as it may be difficult for them to process as can be done by young people. Some of the key benefits of these nuts and seeds in the elderly people’s diet are anti-aging powers and prevent age-related heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, nerve disease, and some types of cancer. And these are the medical conditions often identified with the elders. Hence. A balanced consumption of these, as they age, will help them not only live longer but also live healthier.
Keeping all these in mind and realizing how important the diet of the elderly people needed to help them maintain a healthy and accomplished life, River’s Edge – Assisted Living in Yuma, Arizona always maintains a near-perfect balance of diet and dietary supplements for its senior residents. And this is one of the things that give River’s Edge an edge over others assisted living or senior living facilities, especially in Yuma and in general in Arizona.
So, if you are looking for the most suitable senior living space in Arizona and especially in Yuma, please visit www.riversedgeyuma.com/ once before you decide. Located in one of the prime locations in Yuma with the best of civic services & amenities and the sunniest neighborhood, River’s Edge – Assisted Living shall be your ideal destination.