Foods and Nutrients Most Important for Older Adults

Older adults are more sensitive to the dietary impact they face when it comes to eating a healthy, well-balanced meal each day. At this stage in life, your body heavily depends on specific vitamins and minerals to promote self-healing and ward off inflammation in the body. 

The most important part of improving your dietary lifestyle is consuming the nutrients you need. By eating the right amounts of vitamins, minerals and macro-nutrients, you’ll see a noticeable difference in no time. 

What are the most beneficial health foods worth adding to your daily meals? There are numerous high-quality foods, but the ones we’ll cover are specific foods that help support nutritional needs in your older years. 

What Nutrients Are Most Important as You Age?

By elevating the quality of foods you ingest, you improve your quality of life overall. So, what nutrients are most important to consume regularly in older adulthood? 

Here are some of the most important nutrients we need later in life:

  • Protein – Adults over 71 are more likely to be deficient in protein, according to USDA’s dietary guidelines. Consuming enough protein is important for anyone, but especially those in their older years.
  • Vitamin D – Not getting enough sunshine is an increasing problem for older adults who either have a sedentary lifestyle or suffer from illness and injury preventing them from regular outdoor activity. Vitamin D supports bone health and reduces the risk of cancer and other diseases. 
  • Omega-3 Fatty acids are crucial for reducing inflammation, increasing cognitive function, eye health and more. 
  • Calcium – High levels of calcium prevent bone density loss and osteoporosis while improving your muscular function and regulating heart rhythm. 
  • Magnesium – A natural detoxifier, magnesium is important for regulating nerve and muscle function, regulating blood glucose levels and assisting with deeper sleep.
  • Healthy Fats – You should consume healthy fats to support your brain function and keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. 

Important Foods to Consume as You Age

While every person is different in terms of food allergies, dietary restrictions or preferences, there are some tried and true foods that provide many of the nutrients mentioned above. Take a look at the following foods that support a healthy lifestyle as you age.

  • Salmon – Wild-caught is best for this healthy fat fish rich in omega-3 and vitamin D.
  • Sardines – These are packed with high amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Mushrooms – Rich in copper, zinc, vitamin D and selenium, try eating Shiitake, Cremini, and Portobello for the best nutritional advantage.
  • Flaxseed – This vegetarian-friendly food is a good source of omega-3 and fiber.
  • Dark leafy greens – A good source of calcium and magnesium, arugula, kale, and bok choy are great options.
  • Almonds – These contain healthy fat and are also rich in calcium and protein.
  • Black beans – They are protein-rich and a good source of magnesium.
  • Avocados – An excellent source of healthy fat, this fruit also provides a wide spectrum of vitamins including vitamins E, K, C, B6, folate, etc.

Consuming more nutritious and healthy foods is beneficial at any age. However, boosting your intake of vitamins, minerals and the right amount of macros leads to a significant improvement in your mental cognition and physical well-being as an older adult. Hopefully, these healthy food varieties listed above inspire you to make some long-term dietary changes. 

South Coast Post Acute is Southern California’s Premier Post-Acute Partner

Better health and healing are possible with the right professional oversight and daily nutrition. At South Coast Post Acute, we deliver the services needed to restore health, regain autonomy and reduce the occurrences of rehospitalization. 

South Coast Post Acute is here for you, at any age. Our innovative care, experienced staff, and welcoming accommodations combine to bring you the high level of care you’ve come to expect from Southern California’s leading post-acute provider. 

Contact us today for more information on how we can help on your journey back to restored health.

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