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A Critical Factor for Seniors

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Maintaining a healthy weight is important at any age but it can be particularly crucial for seniors since many illnesses are tied to body weight. Maintaining a healthy immune system can also require eating a balanced, nutritionally sound diet.

The Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Center at Durham Medical Center suggests that people need to change how they eat for every new decade. As they age, caloric intake should be reduced because individuals are moving less and have less muscle with a declining metabolic rate.

One challenging aspect of eating less is supplementing with more nutrient-rich foods. Older bodies still require similar amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals as younger ones, but older men and women need to consume less calories. Consuming more fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources, including beans, and choosing whole grains over refined starchy foods can be the key.

Watch what you drink as well. Soft drinks and other sugary beverages are packed with calories you don’t need. Choose unsweetened beverages and opt for water as often as possible to protect against dehydration which can be harder to detect as you get older.

Seniors should continue to exercise. Healthy eating, paired with moderate exercise, remains one of the best combinations for healthy weight loss or weight maintenance. The goal is to consume fewer calories and expend more energy.

Apart from diet and exercise, aging adults may need to consult with their doctors about nutritional supplements. Your body may produce less stomach acid as you get older, making it more difficult to absorb vitamins from food, including vitamin B12 and vitamin D. Aging skin is less able to transform sunlight into the vitamin, which can affect the body’s ability to absorb calcium. Routine blood work can help pinpoint whether you are deficient in key nutrients.