These nutrients are especially important for adults over age 65. If your diet falls short, here are tips to help ensure you get enough.
Good nutrition is important for everyone, but eating a healthy, balanced diet often becomes more difficult with age. Older people may feel less hungry. They may need to avoid certain foods. They may have less money to spend on healthy food or have trouble getting to the store. More than half of adults over age 65 who are admitted to the hospital do not eat enough nutritious food. Over time, poor nutrition can make chronic diseases worse. It can also increase the risk of infection and slow down healing.
These nutrients are especially important for older adults, with tips to ensure they are getting enough:
Vitamin B12 may help protect against dementia, heart disease, and balance problems. Older adults may have trouble absorbing it from food.
Calcium is important for healthy bones, muscles, and nerves. People tend to eat less calcium as they age.
Vitamin D helps the body process calcium and maintain bone density. Our bodies make vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight. If you don’t or can’t go outside every day, your body might not produce enough.
Potassium helps to lower blood pressure. Many older adults don’t get the recommended amount.
Fiber helps to avoid constipation. It can also help lower heart disease risk and prevent type 2 diabetes. Most Americans get only about half the recommended amount of fiber.
Water is essential to good health. As we age, our sense of thirst decreases. Some medications increase dehydration risk.