Senior Health and Wellness: Achieving a Healthy Diet When You’re 60+

seniors having a healthy picnic in the park

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is important for overall health as the correct food groups supply the body with the nutrients that it needs to function properly. Without a balanced, nutritious diet, the body becomes susceptible to disease, infection, fatigue and low performance. Senior health and wellness rely heavily on the quality of one’s diet. Eating a healthy, balanced diet becomes even more important when you reach sixty years of age because one’s body becomes more prone to certain risks, diseases or conditions. It’s important for the elderly to stay healthy by eating correctly. Find out more as Bloom Financial Services and Momentum Health4Me discuss health education and health insurance for seniors

Health tips for the elderly and seniors

Senior citizens can maintain their health and independence by watching their diet. As people grow older, their nutritional requirements will change. There are also nutritional differences that occur between men and women. Women, for instance, require more calcium after the age of 57, when they have reached menopause, in order to prevent osteoporosis. A person who is over the age of 60 will probably not be as active as a younger person so while they may not need as many kilojoules in their diet, they could require additional dietary supplements or vitamins to aid with specific healthcare for senior citizens. 

Some of these senior health and wellness foods that should definitely be included in their diet are:

1. Fibre. This keeps one’s bowels healthy and active. A high-fibre diet helps prevent constipation, bowel cancel and digestive discomfort. The daily recommended allowance is 30g per day for men and 25g per day for women. Wholegrain cereals, lentils, beans and oats are good sources of fibre. 

2. Protein. Men and women who are over the age of 70, require about 20% more protein than younger people. Protein is responsible for cell growth and repair, as well as muscle strength. The daily recommended allowance is 81g for men over 70 years and 57g for women over 70 years. Fish, poultry, eggs and lean red meat are all good sources of protein.
 
3. Calcium. This mineral is essential for healthy bones and teeth. Healthy bone density will help prevent osteoporosis, which is a disease more prevalent in elderly women than men. The recommended daily allowance is 1300g for men over the age of 70 years and 1300g for women over the age of 57 years. Milk, yoghurt and oily fish, like salmon and sardines, are good sources of calcium.
 
4. Iron. A lack of iron in one’s diet can lead to anaemia, which in turn can cause fatigue and fainting spells. The recommended daily allowance for men and women is 8mg per day. Lean red meat, fish, poultry and wholegrain cereals are good sources of iron.

Senior health and wellness tips: how to maintain a healthy diet when you’re over 60?

  • It’s recommended to include food from the five food groups. These include fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy.
  • Senior citizens are encouraged to stay well hydrated and to drink at least six to eight glasses of water every day. As one gets older, your sense of thirst decreases, which means you could become dehydrated. Symptoms of dehydration include dark coloured urine, confusion or disorientation, headaches and lack of concentration.
  • Try to keep active. It’s advisable for elderly people to try to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
  • Senior health and wellness can be maintained by watching one’s cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are linked to heart disease and are often the result of a poor diet. Find out more about how to lower your cholesterol levels and stay healthy.

Foods to avoid when you’re over 60 years old

Senior citizens are advised to cut out or limit certain types of foods that have a detrimental effect on their health. These foods might have a high bacteria content, for instance, which could cause infection. Some types of foods could raise one’s blood pressure or heart rate.

These are some of the foods that should be consumed with caution or in moderation:

  • Soft cheeses. This type of cheese is usually unpasteurised, which means that bacteria can breed in large amounts. This might pose a risk to an elderly person with a compromised immune system or an upset stomach. The same applies to unpasteurised milk.
  • Low-fat options, like yoghurt and milk. Full-cream versions of these goods will provide joint and brain protection, which is lacking in the low-fat or fat-free versions.
  • Oysters and mussels. While these foods do contain lots of nutrients, they also harbour a lot of bacteria, which could pose a risk to the elderly.
  • High-sodium foods can lead to hypertension (or high blood pressure). Seniors are advised to avoid salty snacks, like chips, crisps and cured meat.
    Caffeine, which is found in tea, coffee, chocolate and some sodas. The caffeine content could increase an elderly person’s heart rate and have an adverse effect on someone with a heart condition.
  • Alcohol. After the age of 65, the body becomes more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. This is because the body’s metabolism drops and alcohol remains in the body for longer. Alcohol will also have an adverse effect on elderly people who are suffering from diabetes, ulcers or higher blood pressure.
  • Saturated fats. These foods contain ‘empty calories’ that provide little nutritional value, like pastries, biscuits and baked goods. Rather swap these out for healthy, unsaturated fats, like avocado or nuts.

Get affordable health insurance for seniors

Keep the elderly safe with a customised health plan for seniors. It is possible to get senior health insurance if you’re over 60 or 70 years of age. Momentum Health4Me doesn’t have any restrictions when it comes to providing affordable health insurance for seniors and offers some of the best health insurance for senior citizens, like the comprehensive Momentum Health4Me Gold health insurance plan, which covers a wide range of benefits that are suitable for seniors. Compare medical insurance options or contact our offices to speak with a trained consultant to discuss your options.

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