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Nutrition Tips for the Older Adult June 12, 2018 13:25

Your nutritional needs have changed as you have become older. Your calorie needs decrease as you get older, but you may need more of certain food groups.

Calories: The amount of calories you need is dependent on how active you are physically. The government defines inactive lifestyles as those in which you only achieve daily living activities. If you exercise for a half an hour or more per day you are considered active. Your level of activity will determine whether you need more or fewer calories than what's recommended if you have been unable to maintain a healthy weight.

Men- an inactive older man needs around 2000 calories per day; if you are active shoot for 2400 calories per day.

Women- Consume 1600 calories daily if you are inactive, 2000 calories if you are an active female older adult.

Now here are some key nutrients you should pay attention to.

Protein- Healthy older men should try to consume 56 grams of protein per day from meat, fish, legumes and dairy. If you are an older female, try for 46 grams of protein daily.

Fiber- A variety of whole grains fruits and vegetables should help you get to the 28 G of daily fiber for an older adult male per day women, strive for 22 grams of fiber per day.

Vitamins and minerals- You are micronutrient requirements increase as you get older eat a variety of whole foods each day to help you meet your vitamin and mineral needs. Try to stay away from processed meals.

Aim for 800 units of vitamin D from fish, egg yolks, fortified foods and supplements everyday.

Production of stomach acid decreases as you age or take certain medications. If this is the case, you may be vitamin B12 deficient, possibly causing depression and fatigue. Supplements and fortified foods, i.e. orange juice, milk and yogurt are usually absorb B12 well.. You also need more vitamin B6 as an older adult.  The recommendation is 1.7 mg daily if you are a man and 1.5 mg if you are a woman. Chicken, fish, potatoes and fruit will help you meet your vitamin B6 needs.

For a chart that will help you keep track of your nutritional intake, Click here.   USDA Nutrition Chart

If eating food from a box- read the box and watch your sodium intake! 


New Book....Love Your Age April 22, 2018 19:40

The Small-Step Solution to a Better, Longer, Happier Life, by Barbara Hannah Grufferman

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Nutrition and Exercise for Seniors November 13, 2017 12:15

Eating healthy is a lifestyle choice shaped by many elements, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, availability of food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health. For a colorful visual of MyPlate and the 5 food groups, download What's MyPlate All About?.  There's also a link for Physical Activity.

Take a look at A Brief History of USDA Food Guides to learn more about previous food guidance symbols. 

If you want to improve your quality of life, this government site may just be for you!

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More on Malnutrition in Seniors October 16, 2017 11:17

Seniors, Malnutrition, Vitamin Deficiencies

Malnutrition is seen in varying degrees in the elderly, along with varying vitamin deficiencies. Malnutrition is due to under nutrition, nutrient deficiencies or imbalances. Most physicians do not see frank malnutrition anymore, such as scurvy; but more milder malnutrition symptoms such as loss of appetite, general malaise or lack of overall interest and wellness.

Common nutrient deficiencies of dietary origin include inadequate intake of vitamin A, B, C, D, E, folic acid and niacin. Malnutrition may also be the result of some socioeconomic risk factors, such as the following:

  • Fear of personal safety (which affects their ability to go grocery shopping)
  • Financial concerns
  • Institutionalization or hospitalizations (that do not ensure adequate nutrition)
  • Lack of interest in cooking or eating alone
  • Loss of a spouse or family member

Clearly, nutrition plays a vital role in the quality of life in older persons. This is why preventative medicine and focusing on good eating habits is crucial. It is recommended to follow a preventative health maintenance nutritional program, such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans,  from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which describes two eating plans:

  1. The USDA food patterns.
  2. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan.

The USDA food patterns suggests that people 50 or older choose healthy foods every day from the following:

  • Fruits — 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups
    What is the same as 1/2 cup of cut-up fruit? A 2-inch peach or 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • Vegetables — 2 to 3-1/2 cups
    What is the same as a cup of cut-up vegetables? Two cups of uncooked leafy vegetable
  • Grains — 5 to 10 ounces
    What is the same as an ounce of grains? A small muffin, a slice of bread, a cup of flaked, ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
  • Protein foods — 5 to 7 ounces
    What is the same as an ounce of meat, fish, or poultry? One egg, ¼ cup of cooked beans or tofu, ½ ounce of nuts or seeds, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • Dairy foods — 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
    What is the same as 1 cup of milk? One cup of yogurt or 1-1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese. One cup of cottage cheese is the same as ½ cup of milk.
  • Oils — 5 to 8 teaspoons
    What is the same as oil added during cooking? Foods like olives, nuts, and avocado have a lot of oil in them.
  • Solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS) — keep the amount of SoFAS small 
    If you eat too many foods containing SoFAS, you will not have enough calories for the nutritious foods you should be eating.

Ensuring adequate nutrition and proper intake of vitamins and minerals will help keep our aging population feeling more vital and ultimately more healthy, thus using prevention rather than intervention.

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services DASH eating plan to decide whether it’s right for you or a loved one.

Excerpted from Dr. Lindsay Jones-Born


Seniors Have Different Nutritional Needs October 5, 2017 20:21

Eating well is important at any age-  adequate nutrition is necessary for health, quality of life and vitality. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many seniors are not eating as well as they should, which can lead to poor nutrition or malnutrition, easily being mistaken as a disease or illness.

Our bodies change as we get older, including perceptual, physiological and and general age-related conditions — such as dental or gastrointestinal conditions. These changes all influence the performance of our body as a whole, which in turn, influences our eating, nutritional intake and overall health.

Perceptual Changes

Perceptual changes later in life can also influence our nutrition, such as changes in hearing, smell and taste:

Hearing: Diminished or loss of hearing also affects our nutrition and food experience. The difficulty and frustration from the inability to hold a conversation with our eating partner out at a restaurant or at a social function can limit one’s food experience.

Smell: The loss of smell can also have a huge impact on the types of food one chooses to eat as there is a loss of satisfaction that can lead to poor food choices.

Taste: One of the most common complaints is in regards to the diminished taste in food. As taste buds decrease, so does our taste for salty and sweet — often times making food taste more bitter or sour.

Physiological Changes

One reason nutritional needs change is due to physiological changes that occur later in life:

Energy: Expenditure generally decreases with advancing age because of a decrease in basal metabolic rate and physical activity, thus decreasing caloric needs.

Function: Our bodies also begin to experience a decrease in kidney function, redistribution of body composition and changes in our nervous system.

Other Aging-Related Changes

Other changes in body function may impact nutritional intake, such as:

Dentition: The makeup of a set of teeth (including how many, their arrangement and their condition). The loss of teeth and/or ill-fitting dentures can lead to avoidance of hard and sticky foods.

Gastrointestinal Changes: Chronic gastritis, constipation, delayed stomach emptying and gas, may lead to avoiding healthy foods, such a fruits and vegetables — the food categories that should be more emphasized rather than eliminated.

These factors alone may contribute to why 3.7 million seniors are malnourished and shed light on the importance of educating caregivers and aging seniors as to specific dietary need options, as well as, catered senior diets and nutritional needs.

More on malnutrition soon.....