No matter your age, the food you eat is what fuels your body. And for seniors, maintaining a healthy, well-balanced diet plays a major role in helping you stay active and independent. Unfortunately, there are a number of myths around what it means to eat healthy as a senior that many wrongly believe.
Let’s debunk five of the top myths about senior nutrition and healthy eating habits:
Myth 1: Losing your appetite is a natural part of aging.
While it’s true that your metabolism naturally decreases as you age, which in turn decreases your appetite and the amount of calories needed to maintain a healthy weight, a complete loss of appetite is anything but normal. In fact, this could be the sign of a larger health issue. Additionally, a decrease in appetite could be due to a natural reduction in your sense of taste or even dental issues which simply make eat less appealing. If this is the case, find new ways to spice up your food. And be sure to address any issues of tooth or mouth pain with your dentist.
Myth 2: It’s better for seniors to be a little overweight than underweight.
Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for good health at any age. But many seniors falsely believe being overweight is better than being underweight, going as far as to believe it’s a sign of robust health. In reality, neither situation is ideal. Being underweight can be a sign of poor nutrition and may even increase your risk of infections. On the other hand, being overweight can increase your risk for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or cardiovascular diseases.
Myth 3: Seniors have slower metabolisms, making it okay to skip meals.
Regularly skipping meals can actually further decrease your metabolism and your overall sense of appetite. And overtime, this can greatly impact your body’s ability to safely maintain blood sugar levels. Additionally, skipping meals often leads to seniors not getting the right amount of nutrients the body needs to stay healthy and active. That’s why it’s so important that seniors continue to eat three healthy meals a day complete with complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, dairy and lean proteins.
Myth 4: As long as you’re eating something, it’s impossible to be malnourished.
Especially for seniors who live alone, getting older often leads to a decreased desire to cook. In turn, many seniors look for easy meals, such as canned soups or prepared frozen meals. Many of these “quick prepare” items are high in sodium and low in the essential nutrients seniors need to stay properly nourished. Meaning, just because you’re eating, you still may not be properly nourished.
Myth 5: Eating with others has the same benefits as eating alone.
Regularly eating alone can leave seniors feeling lonely, stressed and anxious. And over time, it can even impact you both physically and emotionally. It’s important for seniors to eat at least some of their meals in the company of others. This is why so many senior living communities offer community dining options. Not only does it give seniors a break for having to cook, but makes eating more enjoyable by giving you a chance to socialize.
At Symphony Senior Living, we know how important healthy nutrition is for helping seniors stay healthy, active and independent. That’s why we offer community dining options for all our residents, all designed with the unique nutritional needs of seniors in mind. Have a special diet? Let us know! Our chiefs are happy to meet any dietary needs. Contact us today to learn more about our dining services, programs, amenities and senior living options.