Your health is a real asset during your retirement years and maintaining a healthy eating plan contributes to good health. There are many benefits to a nutritious and balanced diet during the retirement years:
- Healthy bones and reducing the risks associated with developing Osteoporosis by having a diet high in Calcium and Vitamin D, as well as weight bearing activities.
- A fibrous diet to keep your gut healthy, and to maintain good digestion
- Keeping our hearts and cardiovascular system healthy by reducing saturated fats
- Eating healthy and reducing alcohol, saturated fats, and sugars will also reduce the risk of developing some cancers
- Eating healthy and keeping an eye on your waist line will reduce the risks associated with developing type II diabetes
Making good choices
To maintain a healthy weight what you put into your body as energy, you need to burn off. By making healthy food choices and portion controlling, you’re on your way to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. But being active is important too. The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that you pick foods from the 5 food groups.
Enjoying an abundance of vegetables of all colours as well as legumes and fruit is important. And don’t forget a diet rich in fibre to maintain a healthy digestive system. Including protein into your diet is a must as well, but opt for lean meats, a variety of seafood, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds and legumes/beans. The dietary guidelines also recommend that you include calcium rich foods such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, but recommend that adults opt for reduced fat options. And last but not least, drinking plenty of water and keeping the fluids up is essential for maintaining good health.
Nutrition advice for older adults
As we age, there are several factors that impact on our diet and nutrition. These factors might include reduced income, a lack of desire to eat, reduced energy levels and so on.
Reduce the amount of salt that you consume. A diet high in salt can cause high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Salt doesn’t need to be added to meals because it’s found naturally in many foods. Nutrition Australia suggests that salt that is found naturally in foods is typically enough to meet your sodium requirements. If you have low sodium levels, seek health professional advice from your General Practitioner first.
As you age you tend to feel less thirsty and as a result of this you don’t get enough water into your diet. If you struggle to drink water, try adding cups of tea/ coffee, sparkling water, and reduced fat milk to increase your fluids. Getting enough fluid is important to stay hydrated, to maintain healthy blood volume and to aid in the digestion of foods.
Don’t forget to look after your bones. Having your recommended intake of calcium each day, and getting in some exercise will aid in keeping your bones healthy.
Older people tend to be less active and burn less calories. Fat is more calorie dense than protein and carbohydrates. Reducing your fat intake is therefore important as you age, and opting for healthier fats found naturally in foods such as nuts is the best way to get your fat intake.
For some older people it’s difficult to consume enough calories in a day and you could find yourself losing weight. Eliminating some foods that you’ve always enjoyed consuming could therefore fill you with concern. If you’re losing weight without intention, it’s really important to visit your G.P. to discuss your personal health needs. Your G.P. can point you in the right direction to get help in meeting your daily nutritional requirements.
Your calorie requirements depend on many factors, including your level of physical activity, your age, height, and muscle mass. Muscle mass tends to reduce as you age, and activities levels often decline. Trying to get at least 30 minutes of activity into your day still remains important, and even though your calorie requirements might reduce, continue focusing on consuming a highly nutritious diet.
As people age they often worry about their digestion and bowel function. There are some ways to help with healthy digestion and elimination patterns. Firstly, drink plenty of water. Be as physically active as you are able too. And lastly, be sure to consume a diet that is rich in fibre. If your bowels still aren’t working efficiently, consult with your G.P.
Remember that as you get older, really focus on getting your nutritional requirements. Drink plenty of water, eat a variety of healthy foods, and ask for help when it’s needed. Start by visiting your doctor and move forward from there.
Following the up to date Australian Dietary Guidelines will aid in your physical and mental well-being.