As we age, we must continue to maintain a healthy and nutritious diet. But, for older adults, Registered Dietitian Deb Paige, the clinical nutrition manager at Lutheran Care, says the top four important nutrients are: calcium, vitamin D, potassium and vitamin D.
Good sources for for calcium and vitamin D are low-fat or fat-free products such as milk, yogurt or fortified juices. Deb says, "For potassium, if you increase potassium as well as lower your sodium or salt intake it may reduce your risk for high blood pressure." And, lean meats, fish and low-fat dairy products and fortified cereals can make fine sources of vitamin B-12.
Deb also says older adults should steer clear of processed foods that are high in fat and sodium. Still, she says they're are some quick options still available. "If you do any microwave foods, I would recommend a Healthy Choice or Lean Cuisine," says Deb.
Maintaining good nutritional health is also about more than what you eat. Deb says what and how much you drink is vital. She says many people don't drink enough during the day. Sometimes they don't drink until they actually feel thirsty. That's when a person may be already at risk for dehydration. And, in the older adult it's even more important to stay hydrated because we're trying to limit any chance of urinary tract infection, weakness that can lead to falls it could lead to confusion in the older adults. So, lots of sources for hydration. Water is definitely one of them, but some people just aren't water drinkers...
For the folks who don't enjoy turning up a glass of water, Deb recommends trying lemonade, unsweetened tea or flavored waters.