There are many diet myths about what complicates a normal diet. But how can you tell the difference between healthy diet facts and fads? Well, to sort out the truth, here are senior diet myths that many people still believe.
Senior Diet Myths
The right diet is arguably the most important aspect of healthy aging. And here are the myths you should stop believing.
You Should Avoid Eating Fats
For most U.S. individuals, reducing their fat intake is a good choice. However, there are bad fats and good fats. Trans saturated fats are the worst kind, whereas polyunsaturated fats are good for you. Trans saturated fats have no known health benefits and can increase your cholesterol. These are often found in pastries, frozen pizza, and margarine.
On the other hand, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are good for you since your body needs them as a source of energy. They also assist in your body’s process of absorbing vitamins and minerals and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
You Can Get the Nutrition You Need From Pills and Supplements
According to this article, supplements can fill in the gaps of a balanced diet, but nutrients from food are more important. As people age, it becomes more difficult to absorb nutrients from food. However, there are dangers to getting nutrients from supplements. Namely, getting too much of a good thing. In addition, seniors with chronic conditions requiring medications should always consult their physician before making any drastic change to their diet and avoid negative interactions.
Senior Malnutrition Doesn’t Exist
Though malnutrition should be nonexistent in the developed world, many seniors suffer from it due to difficulty absorbing nutrients mixed with fixed incomes. Paying for everything from food to medications on a fixed income is an undertaking in and of itself. Unfortunately, some of the most affordable foods are some of the least nutritious. So, a poorly arranged diet that is rich in calories but bereft of nutrients will result in both weight gain and malnutrition. This malnutrition in seniors can lead to deficiency diseases regardless of being overweight or skinny.
Follow a Healthy Dieting Guideline and You Will Be Fine
Though it is often a good idea to follow the nutrient guidelines provided by experts, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, most of these guidelines are not made for senior populations. It doesn’t take into account difficulty chewing, interactions with medications, and common conditions in senior demographics that could become worse with certain foods. Food guidelines should serve as a point of reference, but you should always consult your doctor when it comes to what you should or should not be eating.
It Doesn’t Matter If You Eat Alone or With Others
As discussed in this article, it is just as important to stay social as you age as it is to diet and exercise. This lack of daily socialization can result in cognitive and physical problems. You may find yourself unable to make nutritious foods or prepare filling meals. Also, eating alone can increase the likelihood of skipping meals altogether. Eating in isolation can also exacerbate conditions like anxiety, loneliness, and stress.
Ideally, seniors should eat with others at least some of the time. This is made substantially easier in senior living communities, given the prepared meals and social environment. This environment and careful attention to nutrition are some of the leading benefits of a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community).
It’s Natural For You to Lose Your Appetite
Due to metabolic changes, seniors need less food than younger adults, However, appetite loss is a red flag at any age. Simple problems like a decrease in sense of taste or dental problems can lead seniors to eat less, however, an outright loss of appetite could be a sign of bigger problems.
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Twin Lakes is a continuing care retirement community in Cincinnati, Ohio, offering villa homes, apartments, rehab services and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Twin Lakes online or at 513-247-1300.