Written by Guest Blogger Jennifer McGregor
Your body’s chemistry is constantly changing and is affected by food, medication and age. Though it’s common for people of any age to experience nutrient deficiencies, seniors face a larger risk of missing out on important nutrients.
One of the most important factors of life is being able to truly experience it, which means you need to be healthy physically and mentally. Here are some ways you can avoid and remedy malnutrition as a senior, so you can get back to a better quality of life.
Master Your Medications
Naturally, a changing metabolism will affect your intake of nutrients, but some of the medications you’re prescribed can also have an impact on the absorption of your nutrients. Even if your diet provides all the nutrients you need, your medications could inhibit the reception of much-needed vitamins and minerals.
When prescribing a drug, many doctors will tell you when it’s necessary to also take a supplement, in hopes of counteracting the restricted absorption; however, possible reactions can occur here as well. You need to take matters into your own hands and ask about the combination of medication, vitamins, and supplements you take since a “drug-nutrient interaction” can prevent your medicine from working as intended.
Follow directions, and don’t shy away from asking questions about possible reactions, nutrient levels, and supplement recommendations. Some recommendations can include dietary changes, so you won’t have to worry about swallowing any more pills than necessary.
Pay Attention To Your Plate
A major source of vitamins and minerals is the food you eat. According to LiveScience, the FDA has provided a template of sorts for 12 minerals that you should take in each day. Before you begin buying bottles and bottles of vitamins to meet their demands, change the way you eat.
A balanced diet of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, low-fat dairy, proteins and legumes can go a long way in meeting daily recommendations, but it can be hard to eat the amount of food needed to reap the benefits of the nutrients in them.
Loss of appetite, trouble swallowing, dental issues and other physical problems might deter seniors from preparing and consuming the food. For example, if you have severe arthritis, using utensils can be problematic. If you can’t cut up the vegetables or fruit, how can you prepare them? You can invest in utensil holders and other cooking, cutting and cleaning products designed with you in mind.
If preparing your own meals is not an option, there are all sorts of ways you can go about getting a healthy meal. Have a family member help make meals ahead of each week, or look into hiring a caregiver that can prepare meals each day for you. According to SeniorLiving.org, there are different kinds of caregivers, such as home care aids and homemakers, that can help with whatever you need at home.
Also, look into meal delivery services, like Meals on Wheels. Most areas have an office dedicated to delivering meals that meet your specific dietary needs. Other paid services deliver fully prepped and ready-to-eat meals, so your options are limitless.
Remember to stay hydrated as well. Hydration and a diet full of essential nutrients are key components of health, but you could still be lacking in a variety of vitamins and minerals. In fact, being overhydrated can flush needed nutrients from your body. Your body is a complex system, so stay on top of your nutrients and consider supplementing them with over-the-counter options.
Fuel Your Body and Mind With Supplements
While malnutrition throws a wrench in the natural processes of your body, there’s also a risk to your mental health. Avoid physical and emotional suffering by supplementing your diet with vitamins and minerals you can find at the store.
A good multivitamin comes highly recommended since it can make up for missing nutrients that you may not be getting from diet alone. Taking a multivitamin with at least 100 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamins A and K, calcium, riboflavin and biotin is a good start. Make sure you read the label of any potential candidates since some vitamins aren’t as helpful as they seem.
In addition to a multivitamin, it’d be safe to take an additional supplement for the vitamins and minerals seniors are commonly deficient in. For example, supplements for vitamin D, calcium, iron and vitamin B12 can be found in most grocery and health stores.
Don’t let your body’s chemistry negatively impact your life. Ask questions, seek professional guidance, eat right and supplement your diet to keep your mind and body as strong as possible. You can’t stop yourself from the natural process of aging, but you can make sure you’re prepared for it.
Image courtesy of Pixabay