It’s no secret that a healthy diet is increasingly important as we age. Most of us know that metabolism slows down and we need fewer calories each day. What isn’t as well known, is how much nutritional needs change after the age of 60. Because the body processes nutrients differently during the senior years as compared to younger years, the number of vitamins and minerals we need changes, too.
What Retirees Should Know about Nutrition
Here are a few ways you can meet the nutritional challenges of aging:
- Adopt the Mediterranean diet: This popular and highly respected diet is based on how people in the “Blue Zones” around the world eat. These are the places where people live the longest, healthiest lives. Blue Zone residents consume a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lentils with limited red meat. Experts suggest following the rainbow when you plan meals. That means incorporating, at minimum, five to seven colorful fruits and vegetables in to your daily diet. Including the colors of the rainbow, such as red peppers or apples, orange sweet potatoes or clementines, and yellow pineapple or bananas, can help you stay healthy.
- Monitor vitamin D: Older adults often experience a vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes it is caused by a lack of exposure to sunlight, and other times by a malabsorption problem in the body. It’s an important issue to address because this deficiency can put seniors at risk for falls, bone fractures, and osteoporosis. Talk with your primary care physician to see if you need to be tested and whether a vitamin D supplement is necessary.
- Eat your omegas: The research surrounding omega-3 fatty acids is very confusing, so it’s no wonder older adults aren’t sure what to eat. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your heart and brain healthy. Foods that are rich in these vital nutrients include leafy greens, salmon, lake trout, tuna, walnuts, flax seed, and mackerel. Most guidelines suggest planning menus that include these foods in your diet at least twice a week to protect your heart and brain.
- Put down the salt shaker: A diet that contains too much sodium may increase your risk for high blood pressure and heart disease during the later years. Instead of using salt to season foods when you are cooking, shift to flavorful herbs and spices. Basil, chives, dill, rosemary, sage, and tarragon are a few that add robust flavor to most dishes.
- Incorporate flavonols: This is a term most people aren’t familiar with, but it refers to a plant-based antioxidant. Researchers say flavonols help protect brain and heart health, as well as manage asthma and diabetes. Flavonols can be found in citrus fruit, tea, legumes, berries, cocoa, grapes, apples, and red wine.
By spending a little time to learn how your nutritional requirements may be changing, you can protect your mental and physical health long after retirement.
Healthy Meals at The Amsterdam
At The Amsterdam, our dining services teams create meals that are nutritious and delicious. Whether you opt for a quick meal in our bistro or a fine-dining experience with family or friends, you’ll find our chef-prepared meals to be a delight. We can even accommodate special dietary needs, like low sodium or a gluten-free diet.
We invite you to be our guest and experience Amsterdam dining for yourself. Call us at 516.472.6636 to schedule a time!