Healthy eating is about more than just food. Giving your body the right nutrients feeds your body and your mind, especially as you age. However, getting older can also create obstacles to eating well.
How Aging Can Affect Your Diet
There are many physical and lifestyle changes that take place as you age:
- Your body begins to need fewer calories, which can lead to decreased food intake.
- Problems with your teeth, gums, or dentures can make eating difficult or painful.
- You have weakened senses, so food can seem more bland or sour.
- Depression and social isolation can make food less appealing.
- Chronic diseases can affect your appetite, energy needs, and weight.
- Some medications have side effects that can affect your appetite or your body’s ability to absorb key nutrients.
If you don’t eat enough, don’t eat the right foods, or have lost the ability to absorb certain nutrients, it can cause physical decline or make pre-existing conditions worse.
How Your Diet Affects Your Mood
Good nutrition doesn’t just feed your body. It can also improve mental acuteness, give you more energy, and boost your mood and self-esteem.
Eating well isn’t just about the quality and variety of your food, either. Sharing meals with others can be just as important as adding more nutrient-dense foods to your diet. Talking to a friend or loved one over the kitchen table can play a big role in relieving stress and staying emotionally balanced.
This holistic approach to health care acknowledges that it’s all connected — your mind, body, and spirit — and that when your body feels good, you feel happier inside and out.
How to Eat Well As You Age
Making smart food choices doesn’t require dieting or sacrificing dessert. Check out this infographic to discover useful nutrition tips for older adults.
Want more tips for how older adults can eat healthily, cope with changes that affect their appetite and eating, and make mealtime enjoyable again? Download our Nutrition Checklist for Older Adults to learn what you can do to stay healthy and fit — for yourself and your loved ones.