It is no secret that proper nutrition can decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. While eating habits and dietary needs often change as you grow older, there are quite a few misconceptions surrounding senior nutrition. Here are five of the most common myths.
- Seniors will stay healthy as long as they eat regularly.
Eating something is not always better than eating nothing. As seniors lose strength and mobility, cooking a meal can become difficult and time-consuming. Reaching for pre-packaged snacks and frozen dinners can be tempting, but these food options are usually high in sodium and fat and can lead to all sorts of health problems.
- All seniors will inevitably lose their appetites.
A slowed-down metabolism and a need for fewer calories are normal signs of aging. But when seniors completely lose their appetite, it’s often a sign of a more serious issue.
- Seniors at a healthy weight can eat whatever they want.
Some people seem to be able to eat anything without gaining a pound. However, maintaining a healthy weight doesn’t necessarily equal good health. High-sugar and high-fat diets can lead to diabetes and heart attacks.
- Eating alone isn’t a problem for seniors.
Studies have shown that seniors eat better in the company of others. Often prone to depression and loneliness, seniors are less likely to cook a healthy meal just for themselves. One of the biggest benefits of senior living communities is the friendly, social environment. These communities offer residents healthy delicious meals in a welcoming, social setting.
- General nutrition guidelines are the only thing seniors need to follow to stay healthy.
A healthy diet for a 30-year-old isn’t necessarily a good diet for a 75-year-old to follow. Seniors need extra calcium and vitamin D for strong bones, while antioxidants, vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids can improve cognitive function. Plus, a 30-year-old is much better equipped to handle high levels of sodium and fat.
Make sure to pay attention to the eating habits of your elderly loved ones. Regular, nutritious meals can help senior citizens stay happy and healthy as they grow older.