Understanding Aging and Nutritional Needs in Today’s Nursing Homes in Wilmington NC
When you were in your twenties, your body could process trans fats, empty calories and a generally bad diet with relative ease because most twenty- and thirty-somethings enjoy active lifestyles. But, as you age and enter seniorhood, your body not only becomes less active, it also becomes less capable of processing certain types of food. Because of this, a good diet is an integral part of a healthy lifestyle for seniors in nursing homes in Wilmington NC.
Sticking to a healthy diet is essential for seniors because the right foods help increase one’s mental facilities, boosts energy levels, quickens recoveries from injuries and illnesses, improves resistance to certain illnesses, and helps in the management of certain chronic health conditions. Eating a healthy and balanced diet also helps seniors on an emotional level, as eating well naturally promotes a more positive outlook.
What Should Seniors Be Eating?
Seniors need to adjust their diets if they want to enjoy high levels of energy and mental clarity as they age. The following is a quick breakdown of the guidelines seniors should be following in their daily diet:
Vegetables – When it comes to eating veggies, seniors should be thinking color. The deeper and richer the color of the vegetable, the better the health properties are going be. For instance, dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and spinach are preferable over iceberg lettuce. Orange and yellow vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes and squash are also great for seniors as they are packed with vitamins and minerals.
Fruits – Seniors often think that drinking a glass of fruit juice a day will suffice, but if seniors really want to enjoy the benefits of fruit, they should eat whole fruit for greater fiber and vitamin intake. Common fruits like apples, oranges and bananas are good. Like with veggies, the darker the fruit, the higher the antioxidants. A senior diet should also include blueberries, melons and other dark-colored fruits and berries.
Dairy – Calcium is very important as one ages, so seniors should get at least 1,200 mg of calcium to help keep osteoporosis at bay. A good calcium-rich diet should include milk, yogurt, and/or cheese. For those with lactose intolerance, calcium can also be ingested by eating certain non-dairy foods like almonds, tofu, kale and broccoli.
Proteins – In order to maintain muscle mass, seniors should eat about 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. Protein sources include meat, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, peas, eggs, milk, cheese, seeds and more. For the best diet, however, fish is the preferred protein for seniors as fish also has a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is proven to help relieve inflammation.
Grains – Seniors should include six to seven grams of grains in their daily diet from breads, cereals and/or pastas. But, not all grain is the same. Whenever possible, seniors should choose “whole” grains as they contain more nutrients and fiber than grains that have been processed. When choosing grain-based products, always look for the word “whole” in the ingredients.
Water – As you age, your ability to sense thirst decreases and your body does not regulate fluid levels as well as it used to, so it is important for seniors to be cognizant of their water intake in order to avoid dehydration. Drinking enough water will also help reduce the risk of constipation, urinary tract infections, and certain mental problems like confusion.
Senior Nutrition at Davis Community Nursing Homes in Wilmington NC
At the Davis Community nursing homes in Wilmington NC, senior nutrition is a key component in our curriculum of care. Our chefs and nutritionists work side-by-side in creating inventive and delicious meals that deliver the complete nutritional package that a senior needs to look and feel their best. With three wholesome meals per day available in a range of dining settings, the seniors at the Davis Community assisted living center enjoy the utmost in selection, taste and style.
For more information about our nursing homes in Wilmington NC, please give us a call at 910-566-1200 today.