You can’t always be there. But we can.
A healthy diet is the foundation for wellness at any age. When you eat the most vital foods that are appropriate for yourself, you are functionally supporting the process of overall wellness. At any age, the optimal levels of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water must be met to ensure reaching the highest potential quality of life.
Kids have distinct nutritional needs just as adults have. More so, among adults, seniors have more targeted nutritional requirements to ensure optimal wellness in their advancing years. Particularly, seniors require diets of nutrient-dense foods with calorie contents to match their energy needs.
The federal government, in partnership with nutrition scientists, established MyPlate for Older Adults to address the unique nutritional needs, as well as physical activity needs, of seniors.
What are the unique nutritional needs of adults, or seniors in particular?
According to Alice Lichtenstein, senior scientist and director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the USDA HNRCA, a slow-down in metabolism and physical activity in older adults resulting from illnesses or accidents, genetic patterns, or social, psychological, and economic factors, may cause calorie needs to decline, but nutritional requirements remain the same or, in fact, may need to be increased in some cases.
In the USDA Food Patterns, twelve different caloric levels are represented as to the amounts of food to consume from the basic food groups and subgroups to meet recommended daily nutrient needs.
How many calories do people over age 50 need each day?
For women, it ranges from 1,600 calories, for those who live sedentary lives, to 2,200 calories, for those who live physically active lives. For men, caloric requirements range from 2,200 to 2,800, depending on how physically active their lifestyles are. It is recommended that seniors, to be physically active, have to get into at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week divided over 10 minutes several times a day.
What should compose an older adult’s nutrition diet? How much of each must be consumed on a daily basis?
Ideally, nutrition must come primarily from food, not from dietary pills or supplements. These food include:
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