Common Myths About Senior Nutrition

As people age, their nutritional needs shift. What seniors eat can significantly impact their physical and mental health, yet many myths persist about senior diets and nutrition. Let’s take a look at some common senior diet myths so that you’ll have the information you need to stay healthy at any age.

Seniors enjoying a nutritious meal

  • Myth 1: Seniors don’t need to pay attention to what they’re eating. Many people believe that as long as seniors aren’t overweight or diabetic, it doesn’t matter how much sugar, salt, and processed food they eat. While senior nutrition for diabetes is a concern, it’s not the only reason seniors should watch what they eat. Good nutrition matters at every age, but sometimes seniors have trouble eating a healthy diet, especially when they have difficulty cooking and rely on pre-packaged meals. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises seniors to eat a diet that’s low in calories, nutrient-dense, full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Non-nutritious foods should only be consumed occasionally.
  • Myth 2: Nutritional needs are the same at every age. Just as children need different nutrients when they’re growing, older adults have evolving needs as well. Many experts believe that every senior should see a nutritionist, to determine the right diet for their individual needs. While not every senior has access to a nutritionist, a primary care physician should be able to give some basic advice, like limiting salt, eating foods fortified with vitamins D and B12, and increasing consumption of whole grains. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) can also provide senior nutrition services like nutrition screening an assessment, or even options for home-delivered meals.
  • Myth 3: It’s normal to lose your appetite as you age. Seniors lose their appetites for a variety of reasons other than aging. Causes include side effects of medications, problems with chewing, digestive issues, loneliness, depression, or a loss of taste and smell. When older people skip meals, they can become malnourished and unhealthy, so it’s important for them to eat regularly.
  • Myth 4: Supplements and shakes will fill in the gaps for a senior who doesn’t feel like eating. The best way to get the nutrients you need is by eating a well-balanced diet. While some older adults have trouble eating the right nutrients, it’s better visit a doctor or a senior nutrition program before diving into supplements. Some supplements can interact with prescription medications, and it is possible to overdose on vitamins. Supplement shakes should be used sparingly, because they can cause digestive issues and often have nutrients that seniors don’t need.

If you’re looking for a senior community that prioritizes the health and wellness of its residents, come take a tour of a Cambridge Village community. At each Cambridge Village location, you can experience all the reasons that we’re considered North Carolina’s premier Optimal Living® community for active adults. We offer an exceptional lifestyle, with evolving wellness, concierge healthcare, and engaged experience, for a retirement experience that exceeds expectations. For more information call us at (910) 239-9500, contact us through our website.