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Thursday, September 12, 2024

The Importance of a Nutritious Diet for Older Adults

Making informed and educated decisions about a nutritious diet is one of the best ways an older adult can stay healthy. With it being National Nutrition Month, it’s time to look at your eating habits, and ask yourself, “am I eating healthy, or can I do a better job with my diet?”

The truth is that it isn’t so hard to eat foods that are both delicious and good for you. The benefits to eating a nutritious diet include improving and maintaining mental cognition.

Improving or maintaining mental cognition

Chicago Methodist Senior Services provides residents with several other approaches to improving memory. For example playing and listening to music, or engaging in arts for brain stimulation through mental exercises.

Healthy older adults with nutritious diets are also less likely to experience a decline in memory. The American Academy of Neurology published a report in 2015 where, after studying 28,000 older adults in 40 countries, they concluded that people with the healthiest diets were 24 percent less likely to have cognitive decline than people with the least healthy diets.

So what sorts of foods are included in a healthy diet that might reduce the risk of memory loss?

  • Whole-grain bread, cereals, and pasta
  • Fish-based omega-3 fatty acids, which include cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, and sardines
  • Daily servings of leafy green vegetables such as kale or spinach

If you enjoy whole-grain carbs, cold-water fish and leafy vegetables, you’re on the right path.

Reducing the risk of disease, cancer and other health conditions

Several other studies have been done to identify healthy foods that can decrease your chances of diseases, cancers and other health conditions. Sadly, cheeseburgers, french fries and other greasy foods don’t make the list of options that foster good health. Here are a few that do:

  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots and spinach
  • Fruits such as strawberries, apples and grapes
  • Legumes, such as beans, peas and lentil

While you may indulge yourself in the occasional unhealthy meal options, don’t forget to add some vegetables, fruits or legumes on the side! These will provide you with energy and stamina.

Providing you with energy and stamina

Older adults (and young ones too) with poor diets may find themselves tired and lethargic. One of the best ways to combat that feeling of low energy is to consume foods and beverages that will give you natural energy, while also containing significant amounts of other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Luckily, a lot of these are quite tasty and easily accessible:

  • High protein foods such as quinoa, fatty fish, nuts and eggs
  • Superfoods such as avocados, goji berries and oats
  • Liquids such as green tea, coffee and water

It isn’t too hard to find healthy foods and liquids that will not only give you the energy you want, but also the stamina you need to have good days.

Find a diet that works for you

No matter where you live — an assisted living community, a long-term rehabilitation home or an apartment — it’s important to find a diet that you enjoy and that contributes to good health.

At CMSS we pride ourselves in the nutritious foods we serve residents. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about our communities and our healthy food options for older adults, contact us today.

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