They’re certain reasons why you might need to change your eating habits as you age, and it’s important to understand why this is the case.
Read on to learn about what foods older adults may want to avoid and how to follow the food guide pyramid for a healthier, safer diet.
Why Your Diet Might Need Adjustments As You Get Older
When it comes to aging, the types of foods that you eat might need modification. And this is about more than just how many calories you’re taking in, or whether you’re getting enough calcium for stronger bones.1
So, is there really such thing as “old people food?” Well, not exactly. But some foods may be a better choice as you reach those later years.
Food Choices To Be Wary Of: The Risk Of Undercooked Eggs, Meat, Poultry, And More
Food poisoning can affect anyone, but it can be particularly serious for certain people, including young children, those with compromised immune systems, and senior citizens. The very old and the very young might have weaker immune systems that leave them unable to fight back against toxins.
Most people will be able to recover from a bout of food poisoning within 48 hours, but those over 65 years of age risk hospitalization.
So, which foods are the riskiest for food poisoning? Well, undercooked foods such as eggs, meat, and poultry can cause severe food poisoning. Foods kept warm for too long, unpasteurized milk, raw honey, and foods prepared with contaminated water could present problems.2
It’s important to be aware of food safety in your home kitchen when preparing meals.
Use a thermometer when cooking to measure the internal temperature of your food. This will ensure that you have fully cooked the food, reducing the risk of foodborne illness. The thermometer can also keep you from overcooking, keeping your meal full of flavor.
This food safety chart will help you with safe minimum temperatures for all types of foods.3
Finally, though not linked to food poisoning, you will want to be careful with hard candies. These can very easily chip delicate teeth or dentures.
Your Diet And Medications: Know Your Restrictions
Certain foods don’t pair well with certain medications. It’s important to know which types of foods and beverages could cause drug interactions, so discuss the medications you’re taking and the impact on your diet with your doctor. You might be surprised by which foods don’t mix with certain medications.4
Eat A Well-Balanced Diet Of Nutritious Foods
Eating a well-balanced diet of nutritious vegetables and fresh fruits, dairy, breads and cereals, healthy fats, fish, nuts, and seeds are important no matter what your age. But as you get older, it may become more challenging to make sure you’re getting enough of the vitamins and minerals, and the calories you need.
There are certain foods and nutrients that you may need more or less of as you age.
Make sure that you’re meeting your recommended dietary guidelines for your age group.
For example, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for a woman over 66 who weighs 140 pounds and who has a low activity level is around 1890 calories per day. This includes 51 grams of protein and 21 grams of fiber.
You can use this easy online calculator to find your own estimates based on your weight, height, and age.5
For a more personalized recommendation, seek the advice of your doctor, especially if you’re not sure you’re getting enough nutrition from your daily meals, or if you have a sudden, sustained loss of appetite or taste.
You might also ask if taking supplements to help you meet your nutritional needs is a good option.
Elderly Adults: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
Make getting nutritious meals every day a priority. If this seems difficult, you might consider a grocery store delivery service or a meal delivery service. This can help ensure that you’re getting plenty of nutrition (and great tasting meals) without too much hassle. If this isn’t an option, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family.
Ultimately, talk to your doctor about your dietary needs, medical restrictions, and the best ways to go about getting the right nutrition. They will be the best guide for keeping you in optimal health during your golden years.
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