By Gentle Heron
Here are some mealtime ideas that will help you feel younger and stay healthier longer as the number of candles on your birthday cake increases.
• Drink more water. Older people do not feel thirsty as readily as younger people, so they risk dehydration. Drink water at every meal; it’s better for you than drinks with sugar, alcohol or caffeine.
• Be aware of calories. Metabolism slows as we age, so we need lower calorie meals and snacks.
• Get enough protein. A third of older adults do not eat enough protein, which your body uses to renew many tissues. Meat is a good source of protein, but so are dairy products and legumes.
• Adequate calcium is necessary for bone health. Bone mass decreases with age, leading to an increased risk of fractures. Dairy products are a good source of that mineral, but lactose malabsorption and intolerance also increases with age. Other sources of calcium include canned fish (with bones), beans and nuts.
• Be sure you get enough potassium to help control blood pressure, which tends to increase with age. Good dietary sources of potassium include greens (beets, chard, spinach, etc.), lima beans, and sweet potatoes.
• Avoid constipation caused by inadequate fiber intake. Be sure you get enough fibrous fruits and vegetables as salads, snacks, and desserts.
• Since some vitamins (e.g., B12 and D) are more difficult to obtain from food as you get older, you may need a specific supplement. Check with your doctor first, and if a supplement is recommended, buy one that contains only what you need without unnecessary other ingredients.