Oak Park Arms

Here’s to Your Health: Nutrition for Seniors

Oak Park Arms

A representative from Interim Healthcare will present a program about nutrition at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, December 13, at the Oak Park Arms retirement community, 408 S. Oak Park Avenue. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Changes occur with every passing birthday, but how does nutrition change over a lifetime? Each year over age 40, a person’s metabolism slows down and that means fewer burned calories. Add a reluctance to exercise, and it’s a recipe for weight gain and its complications.

doctorScientists estimate that anywhere from 15 percent to 50 percent of Americans over the age of 65 consume too few calories, proteins or essential vitamins and minerals for good health. National and regional surveys have found close to 50 percent of elderly Americans consuming insufficient levels of calories.

Good nutrition should and can be part of every older adult’s life in order to keep the immune system strong and to have energy and a positive outlook.

Some helpful tips include:

  • Good carbs.Opt for whole grain nutrition (brown rice, whole grain bread), not refined “white” products such as white bread, white rice, or products made with white flour.
  • Raw veggies.Eat at least one daily serving of raw fruits and raw vegetables. This not only preserves their nutritional value, it’s an easy way to avoid constipation. Raw fruits and veggies are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to aid digestion. Plus, there’s no preparation involved.
  • Steaming is the best way to cook vegetables; it preserves nutrients.
  • Protein. Fish, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and tofu all count as protein. So does skinless turkey or chicken, or fish, baked, broiled, grilled, steamed or poached. Go easy on red meats which contain saturated fat and on salty meats such as bacon or ham.
  • Calcium.Milk, cheese and yogurt retain their calcium content; cream cheese, cream and butter do not. As part of a healthy senior diet, choose fat-free or low fat dairy products.
  • Fats.Good fats come from olive oil and sunflower oil, avocados and avocado oil, nuts and seeds.
  • H2O. Drink enough water each day and eat foods with a high water content such as melons, grapes, cucumbers, onions, apples, cabbage, and soup. Staying well hydrated flushes toxins from the body and helps keep joints flexible. Don’t wait until thirst happens because some people don’t feel thirst, but their bodies need lots of water anyway.

Choose foods that are simple to prepare, flavorful, and easy to chew, swallow and digest. Before any changes in the diet are made, it is wise to consult a health care professional who can evaluate specific nutritional needs based on medical history.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information call 708-386-4040.