With Spring upon us, it is important for Seniors to think about the foods they are consuming. There is an unhealthy myth that older adults don’t have to think about what they eat as much as when they were younger, but making sure seniors get the right nutrients can help them stay energized, lower the risk of developing chronic health conditions, and impact their well-being and independence.

There are many reasons why seniors might develop poor eating habits, such as a decreased sense of smell and taste, difficulty getting to the grocery store, and depression. According to the National Council on Aging, after the age of 50, it’s more important than ever to be sure you are eating well to get adequate nutrients. To avoid common symptoms of malnutrition include frequent falls, chronic digestive upset, extreme hair loss and rapid cognitive decline here are a few tips to help your loved one stay active and independent as they get older.

Focus on Nutrient-rich Foods

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As people age, they need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. However, the need for certain vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin D, and vitamins B6 and B12, increases after age 50. Encourage your loved one to eat more nutrient-rich foods, such as vegetables and fruits, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and lean protein, to help them get the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats they need. If they do rely on convenience foods, look for prepackaged foods that are low in added sugar, saturated fat and salt.

Consider Multivitamins

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Sometimes seniors have to avoid certain foods because their medications interact with them. Additionally, some vitamins are poorly absorbed by older adults. Consider asking your loved one to keep a food diary to help ensure they are getting the nutrients they need. If it looks like they need a boost, ask their doctor about a multivitamin that fulfills 100 percent of the recommended daily amounts of vitamins and minerals for seniors.

Stay Hydrated

People often forget that water is a nutrient, too. Everyone should try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Seniors can also get fluids from juice, tea, soup, and water-rich fruits and vegetables.

Eat a Variety of Foods

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Spring comes with a lot of seasonal vegetables that would provide nutrients and some great meals around the house. Artichokes, carrots, herbs, and ramps are just a few of the springtime vegetables that are in season.

Minimize Table Salt and Sugar Consumption

Table salt can dehydrate the body causing further complications. Salting food to the recommendation while cooking is the best rule of practice. Sugar can cause there to be too much sugar in the blood, which can cause further issues down the road. If you have a craving for something sweet, dark chocolate has many health benefits and can satisfy the occasional sweet tooth.

If you want to make your loved ones feel safe, healthy, and connected, consider buying them a health monitoring device or a medical alert. These devices along with these 5 steps can help be the difference.