Aging is one thing. Aging well is another. One daily routine that helps with aging well is a proper diet. If your parents aren't eating well, they may feel it. High sodium, high fat, or high sugar foods can drag them down.
Your parents should be eating a diet that is high in fiber. They want to keep sodium intake to a minimum. They need plenty of protein and vegetables and fruits that have antioxidants and vitamins. Water intake is also important to prevent dehydration.
How Many Calories Are Appropriate?
Calorie intake depends on your parents' activity levels. For men, 2,000 to 2,600 calories are recommended for men between the ages of 66 and 75. After that, it drops to 2,000 to 2,400 calories.
For women, those between the ages of 66 and 75 should eat 1,600 to 2,000 calories. It drops to 1,600 to 2,000 calories for women over the age of 75.
What Nutrients Are Your Parents Missing Out On?
Your parents may be doing okay with some of their nutritional needs but not with others. These are the nutrients they need.
- Antioxidants: Many vegetables are high in antioxidants. Choose colorful vegetables and fruits like yellow, red, and orange bell peppers, berries, cherries, leafy greens, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, rutabaga, etc.)
- B Vitamins: B vitamins are often burned up when your parents are stressed or anxious. It's also harder for some older adults to absorb these vitamins from the foods they eat. Talk to their doctor about a supplement. Otherwise, aim for whole grains and fish to get enough.
- Calcium/Vitamin D: For strong bones, calcium is important. Some doctors recommend adding a vitamin D pill if osteoporosis is a risk. Otherwise, aim for foods like yogurt, leafy green vegetables, canned fish like sardines, and fortified whole-grain cereals.
- Dietary Fiber: Fiber is helpful at preventing colorectal cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and constipation. Your parents get fiber from whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
- Potassium: Potassium is vital for the heart. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure, so aim for foods that are high in it. Oranges, dairy, beans, and fresh vegetables have potassium.
A healthy diet may be difficult for your parents to maintain if they struggle to chop, slice, or dice ingredients. Elder care aides can help with meal preparation. Your parents have someone to take them shopping, help them come up with a weekly menu, and clean out expired foods. Call an elder care agency to discuss meal preparation and grocery services provided by caregivers.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Lone Tree, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare today at 303-953-9924.