10 Nutritional Myths For Seniors - The Australian Jewish News

1. Your stomach shrinks as you age

Although your appetite and eating capacity can change, your stomach won’t shrink as you get older. In fact, inadequate nutrition only speeds up the aging process.

2. Weight loss is healthy

Unfortunately this is not the case when we are older. Diets and accidental weight loss should be avoided in the later years. Any weight loss should be a natural result of combining good exercise with a high protein diet. In fact, a bit of extra padding in later years is beneficial to support your body and brain for years to come.

3. You need to eat less as you get older

As your metabolism slows down and your energy output decreases, food and eating are what protects and powers you. It is your key to aging well. You may need to eat less of some things, but your body will need more of others, especially foods high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

4th Only eat what you like

The aging process can play tricks on our appetites and the triggers that tell us whether we are hungry or full. As a result, older people may eat less than their bodies really need. It is important to realize the importance of continuing to eat despite the tricks, so that your body continues to get the energy and nutrients it needs to function. Open loss of appetite is not normal and can be a symptom of an underlying health problem. If you’re having problems, try to eat small meals regularly throughout the day, even if you don’t always feel like it.

5. You need a low-fat diet

Contrary to popular belief, a low-fat diet is not always the best, especially for the elderly. Fat is an important source of calories and some seniors may need to eat a little extra to maintain their weight. For most, however, eating foods that contain mostly unsaturated fats is best for heart, body, and brain health. Fats in foods like olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish are ideal.

6. Eat more vegetables

While nutritious vegetables continue to be essential in your diet, protein foods need to be the focus of your plate, and the vegetables will surround it from now on. That’s because as you get older, you need more, not less, protein. Protein keeps our muscles, our immune system, our body organs and our brains, all of our systems working and renewing themselves minute by minute. Vegetables are always important, but if your appetite is low make sure you eat the protein first, then enjoy the vegetables.

7. You only need to drink water when you are thirsty

If you feel thirsty, you are already a little dehydrated and that is a problem because neither your body nor your brain can perform to its maximum capacity when you are dehydrated. Dehydration can cause confusion, delirium, impaired kidney function, and exacerbate a variety of other conditions that commonly affect the elderly. Seniors tend not to feel thirsty since
efficient and therefore at a higher risk of dehydration, making fluid intake an essential part of the overall diet.

8. Surcharges are sufficient

Of course, we cannot live on vitamins and supplements alone. Your body works best when it is working – that is, eating and digesting food. Additionally, most of the supplements advertised to help you live longer, improve memory, fight dementia, and more, will fail to do the justice. And there’s another problem – many supplements interact with popular drugs or just don’t work as they would if you ingested them in the food they originally came from. You could be spending a lot of money on no profit if you could do better by simply eating. Not only that, you’re missing out on one of life’s greatest joys – cooking and dining with family and friends.

9. You always need to have a “real meal”

It is important that you eat regularly to live well and remain independent in old age. However, eating three full meals a day can be tricky if you have poor appetite or if cooking is too difficult or time-consuming. You can opt for prepackaged meals, frozen meals, or take away meals, but some of them do not contain the protein and other nutrients especially important to support the aging process of the body and brain, and others are high in sodium or saturated fats. If three good meals are too much of a challenge, 5 or 6 small meals or select snacks that are nutritious can be just as useful.

10. Malnutrition is part of getting older

Malnutrition can affect anyone at any age and is not a normal part of the aging process. Seniors, however, are at greater risk of malnutrition and it is important that you do not dismiss the warning signs as part of “old age.”

Ngaire Hobbins recently partnered with Home Soon to launch Senior Care Nutrition for Seniors: A Guide to Healthy Eating Habits for Old Age. For more information and advice on maintaining a nutritional diet in later years, download the guide.

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