Nutrition for Seniors Tips

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What is a good way to maintain a weight that's best for senior health?

Senior Health Care and Nutrition

We all worry about our weight as we get older. In today's world, restaurants serve huge portions, but you don't have to fall prey to these problems! Although 'Diets' aren't always the easy way to maintain a healthy weight for senior health, eating less can be. Use the salad plate for our meals rather than the dinner plate; less surface, less food. Your system will soon adapt to this decrease and 'less' will be plenty! You'll see the excess pounds melt slowly away. Couple this with a walk each day and you will look and feel better!

How can I make inexpensive steaks taste great?

Eat healthy for your heart

I'm sharing information given to me by hospital nutritionist when I had my by-pass surgery:
LITTLE or No red meat
TRIM excess fat off meats
NO - hot dogs, bacon, sausage, bologna, lunch or processed meats
('tho she amended to say 'once a week OK')
NO deep fried foods
NO fast-food restaurant meals
FISH, SHELL-FISH - 5+ each week
CHEESE - 1 or 2 times a week
NOTHING added on toast or sandwiches (jellies, jams, mayo, etc), 'tho butter/margerine & salad dressing ok 1-2 times a week
SNACKS - fresh vegetables or fruit; nuts OK 1 time a week
BREAKFAST - whole grained cereal/toast
DESERT - fruits
BEANS/LENTILS - 3 times or more a week
MILK - Skim or 1% low fat (ugh!)
EGGS - well, what's the decision on this today? I was told 4 years ago 2 or less is good :o), now they're saying 4-5 week OK...

Note: these are basic guidelines, and you really need to consult with your doctor what is best for YOU! I had cut back on my red meats and now told to eat more :o) hmmmm...good reason for a steak, huh?

Why do I need vitamins A and beta carotene in my diet?

Vitamins-A and beta carotene

Vitamins A and beta carotene maintain good vision and healthy skin, helps bone and teeth develop, and helps the body resist infections. Dietary sources are liver, egg yolk, leafy green vegetables, deep yellow or orange vegetables, sweet potatoes and apricots.

Why do I need Vitamin D in my diet?

Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps our bodies use calcium to build strong bones and teeth. Sources are milk, egg yolk and fish oils. This vitamin is activated by sunlight on our skin...just don't overdo the sunlight.

Are there specialty places where I can buy unusual foods?

Trying something different

Thai foods - Have you tried a Thai Restaurant? If you like Chinese foods, you'll love Thai!! And much healthier preparations (if not Americanized). My favorite dishes are Pad Thai (chicken or shrimp), with vermicelli rice noodles/peanut sauce/green onion/some egg; Spicy Beef with rice (side), Asian basil, onion, special sauce; Tom Kah Gai soup with chicken/straw mushrooms/coconut milk/cilantro/lemon grass/galanga (spice root similar to ginger - you don't eat the last two, but I love to chew on them); Spring Rolls either plain or deep fried (much, much better than egg rolls!) The soup is...."heavenly"!!
NOTE: Thai foods are very ~hot~, spicy~hot~! Use of Phrik Lueng (hottest chilli around) is abundant, so when ordering be sure and state "medium" or "mild", then request a 'side' of the chilli to add if you want. I order medium with side, and I have a tollerance for 'hot' foods. Thai 'hot' is not the same as American 'hot'!!! Oooooweeee...I learned right off!

What are the food types I should be eating?

Foods high in potassium

These are some foods that contain a goodly amount of potassium, naturally:

Apricots, Avacado, Banana, Beans (dried), Broccoli, Brussel spouts, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Greens, Honeydew, Milk, Mushrooms, Oranges, Orange juice, Potato, Prunes, Prune juice, Raisins, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet potato, Tomato, Tomato juice, Winter squash.

What are healthy foods I can snack on?

Health agents in cherries

According to research conducted by labs and various universities, cherries (especially TART cherries) are a rich source of antioxidants that can help fight cancer and heart disease. Cherries also contain compounds that help relieve pain of arthritis, gout, and even headaches.

Why do I need Vitamin C in my diet?

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is important for healthy teeth and gums, helps our bodies use iron, and aids in healing wounds.
Scurvy is commonly found in those people lacking vitamin C. Natural sources include citrus fruits and juices, strawberries, cantaloupe, tomatoes, broccoli, green vegetables and potatoes.

Will eating whole-grain foods help reduce fatal heart attacks?

Whole grains and heart health

Older women and men who eat the right amount of whole grains cut their risk of a fatal heart attack significantly. At ages 55 - 69, those who eat whole grains for at least three of their daily carbohydrate servings were found to be in better heart health during the next 10 years. Whole grain breads, crackers and cereals -- made from grains that have not been stripped of their bran and germ -- protect against heart disease and diabetes. It's unclear which part of the whole grain -- the fiber, the vitamin E, the folate, the magnesium or some of the health-protective phytochemicals --
provides the health benefits. Read labels carefully. Look for "whole-grain" or "whole-wheat flour" as the first or second ingredient.

Many thanks to Mrs.Skeffington thru Nurse Guru for this tip.

How can I know if what I´m eating is nutritional?

Keep a Nutrition Diary

By keeping a 'nutrition diary' daily, we will be able to analyze our good/bad eating habits. Start with a 'normal' week (not holidays, etc), and write down everything you put into your mouth...sodas, sweet iced tea, snacks...etc.(I mean EVERYTHING). At the end of the week check the total red-meats, poultry, breads, dairy fats (milk, butter, ice cream), fresh vegetables, etc. we have consumed. Is there a bad-habit trend we need to correct? Do so now...start with buying less of the 'bad', and more of the 'good' when grocery shopping. Who knows, we may be rewarded with lower cholesterol and weight loss!

What are the food types I should be eating?

Foods high in calcium

These foods will give you a good idea of what to eat if you are in need of more calcium (not a complete list):

Cheeses and dairy products (low fat if watching cholesterol, but dairy products are best calcium source as they are easily absorbed into the body), milk, legumes, salmon, sardines (with bones), tofu, yogurt, almonds, broccoli, and dark leafy vegetables (kale or collard greens).
Be sure you are able to tolerate these foods, and which ones are approved/suggested by your doctor, before 'diving' in to them :o)

What is a good diet for me?

Get to know your foods

Good nutrition and food-types that each one of us need will vary with each person. Nutrition is gained from the proper food input to our bodies, that work the best for our needs, i.e. growth, replacement of tissues, etc. Food types (besides being the milk, meat, vegetables/fruit, and bread/cereal groups) are basically what our Senior bodies need for a healthy being. Meats could be needed for some of us, an absolute no-no to others. It is important to remember that each persons needs vary, and it is equally important to check with your doctor just what foods you need (or can tolerate) for your particular health maintenance. I found this interesting website about nutrition you might want to check: you can subscribe (free) to their nutrition newsletter. But checking with your doctor is the priority!

Why do I need potassium and sodium in my diet?

Minerals-Potassium and sodium

Potassium and sodium are vital minerals we need to maintain the balance of fluids in our body and aid in muscle contractions and nerve transmission. Fruits, milk, meat, cereals, vegetables and legumes are potassium sources. Salt is sodium, but don't overdo this intake; Americans tend to ingest too much sodium in processed foods and table salt.

What is a good diet for me?

A good diet

A 'diet' is not just for losing weight. Moreso, a good diet is important for achieving and maintaining good health. Proper diets, along with exercise, is so important for everyone, and that includes Seniors! If you have a particular health problem (diabitis, high blood pressure, heart surgery, osteosporosis, etc.) ask your doctor for a book/pamphlet (they're free) on the proper diet for YOU...then read it and follow the instructions. You really will feel much better, and add years to your life expectancy.

Why do I need B vitamins in my diet?

Vitamins- B vitamins

B vitamins help our bodies turn food into energy so we can maintain a healthy nervous system and to aid our body in producing red blood cells. B vitamin is found in whole grains, meat, fish, poultry, legumes and milk products.

How can I eat better and save money at restaurants?

Order Smaller Portions

In general, restaurants are serving larger and larger portions and charging more. If you find yourself needing a take-out box often, consider asking the restaurant if you can order from the kiddie menu. Often these size portions are just right. You`ll be surprised how often they`ll agree.

How can I promote senior health by smart grocery shopping?

Senior Health Care and Nutrition

It's been said before, but here's a senior health reminder: try NEVER to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach! You'll buy more than you intend, spend more money, and possibly have more waste! Eat first, then grocery shop. Also, bring a list. Making a grocery list not only keeps you on plan and on budget, you will see if you are buying a balanced array of foods.

Why do I need iron in my diet?


Iron in our diet is needed to produce healthy, energy rich blood. It's found in liver, meats, leafy green vegetables and whole grains. Vitamin C can help increase our body's absorption of iron.

Can I improve senior home health care by cutting back on sugar?

Senior Health Care and Nutrition

With the exception of diabetics, who are very controlled in their intake of 'sugars', good senior health practices indicate that you should limit your sugar intake.

An easy way to reduce your sugar intake, if you don't use artificial sweeteners is to buy a demitasse (or baby) spoon to use when adding sugar to coffee, tea, cereals, or whatever. You'll be adding a spoonful of sugar, but a lesser amount! Also avoid candies and sodas which are incredibly high in sugar. Don't be afraid to look at the nutritional label on all of your foods to check out the sugar, you'll be glad you did!

How can I eat ´out´ and save money?

Share a meal

A decrease in physical activity as we age may also decrease our need for calories. When eating out, consider sharing a meal with your spouse or a friend. Often it`s "just enough" and can really save money, too.

Why do I need Vitamin E in my diet?

Vitamin E

Vitamin E acts as a preservative in our bodies and prevents oxygen damage to cells. It also prevents attacks on vitamins A and C. Vitamin E is found in vegetable oils, wheat germ oil, avocados, nuts, legumes and margarine.

Why do I need calcium & phosphorus in my diet?

Minerals-Calcium and phosphorus

Calcium and phosphorus are minerals that work as a team to help our heart function normally and to build strong bones and teeth. For women, calcium is an important ingredient in preventing osteoporosis. Sources of calcium are milk products, greens, broccoli, sardines and legumes. Sources of phosphorus are cheese, egg yolk, milk, meat, fish, poultry, whole grain cereals, nuts and legumes.

How can I eat ´out´ and save money?

Time consideration

When we still worked outside the home, we had an hour for lunch, and had to wait for a table, or stalled in line at the cafeteria, wondering how so many people could take their leisure time. Now, as retirees, let's make sure we go out to lunch either at 11:30 a.m. or after 1:00 p.m. so we can give the 12-1 lunch hour to those still working; their time is limited, ours isn't. Let's be considerate!

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