Growing older comes with its own set of unique challenges. Our physical, nutritional, and emotional needs all evolve as we go through life. It’s important to remember that these changes are perfectly normal. It’s merely nature taking its course. However, that being said, we also aren’t stuck being the victim of time. Understanding the changes you’ll need to make to your lifestyle as you age is essential to preserving your happiness and comfort.
One of the most significant factors to consider when growing older is the increased risks for high blood sugar, blood pressure, and other illnesses. Mental health also plays an essential factor in overall health as we age. Decreased socialization and exposure to multiple moments of grief can cause increased stress, anxiety, and even depression. Balancing both physical and mental health factors isn’t always easy, but creating an open dialogue for these concerns can help shine a light on problems earlier and address them in their early stages.
Developing problems concerning our health as we grow older are often related to poor nutrition. Unwanted weight gain can occur when you consume a surplus of calories than what your physical activity can burn off. On the opposite end of the spectrum, undernutrition can occur due to a multitude of factors. As we age, our taste buds also change and deteriorate, so food may not taste as great, leading to a decrease in appetite. Undernutrition can cause weakened immune systems and brittle bones, which makes you susceptible to diseases.
Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to health problems. A lack of sources of potassium and calcium also contributes to reducing bone density. A magnesium deficiency can result in reduced blood pressure control. While a lack of vitamin B6 can lead to reduced or weaker cognitive responses, resulting in memory loss that translates to symptoms of confusion and anxiousness.
Maintaining a balanced diet and supplements can help manage these deficiencies and keep us living healthy for longer. Let’s look at the elemental composition of a balanced diet that can aid in growing old with dignity and grace.
The primary function of proteins is to help our bodies repair and build new cells. It’s the building block of our bones, skin, and muscles. It also helps in producing enzymes to digest our food better. Some great sources of protein that minimize fat and cholesterol are lean meats such as poultry and fish, along with eggs and milk.
Carbs serve as the main source of energy for our bodies. They fuel our heart, muscles, kidneys, and even our brains. Carbohydrates have multiple types, such as starches, fibers, and sugars. Starches are a complex carbohydrate, which takes longer for our bodies to process and break down. Starches found in corn, lentils, kidney beans, and potatoes help tide us over longer and stabilize our blood sugar levels. Fibers are also considered complex carbohydrates. There are two types of fibers, insoluble and soluble fibers. Insoluble fibers are harder to digest and aid in regular bowel movements and overall digestion.
On the other hand, soluble fibers dissolve in water but still keep you feeling full for longer. Great sources of fiber are oats, legumes, nutola granola, quinoa, and different fruits and vegetables, which brings us to the last group of carbohydrates, sugars. Sugar is considered a simple carbohydrate, which our bodies can process quicker. Natural sources of sugar are better for us as we age, while sugary foods and drinks should be avoided. Great fruits low in fat and sugar content are lemons, berries, avocados, peaches, and kiwis. These contain healthy fats and vitamins that help boost our immune systems, such as vitamin C.
Carbohydrates, as a general rule, should be taken in smaller or regulated servings as we grow older as these can significantly affect our blood sugar and cause unwanted weight gain.
Vitamins and minerals serve to strengthen our immune systems, keep our bones strong, and help produce red blood cells. It can be challenging to get the correct amount of vitamins and minerals from strictly natural sources, even in our younger years. Even with a balanced diet that contains the right kind and quantity of food, you may miss out on other vital nutrients your body needs.
Our dental health can also affect our nutrition. Older individuals may have difficulties in chewing or swallowing certain foods needed to provide them with proper nutrition. This is where vitamin supplements and supercharged drinks or protein shakes come into play. They serve to help seniors get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
The challenges associated with our age are not insurmountable. The proper knowledge and discipline can keep us healthy even as we go into our 60s and 70s.