Diet choices are very personal! However, there are certain benefits one can experience as they age, when they make the required changes in their diet. One such change can be shifting to vegetarianism.
As age is catching up, it slows down the functional ability of your organs and systems. It is safe to say that vegetarian foods have a clear advantage over the other food choices when it comes to optimizing your organs and body.
If you are a senior citizen just reaching your 60s, we know the amount of free-diet-advice you might be getting. Additionally, your own struggle to walk the ‘eating right way’ is not easy.
If you have been a vegetarian or just shifting to it, you might have the questions about “what is the best vegetarian diet”, “what exactly does a healthy diet for seniors contain”, “what is the low sodium diet”, “what is a plant-based diet’ – stop mulling over and start reading this blog until the end for answers.
What is the advantage of a vegetarian diet?
A study by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provided enough evidence on vegetarian diet reducing the risk of ischemic heart disease and it reduces hypertension, type-2 diabetes. Many research have concrete evidence that vegetarian diet plays a vital role in reducing the free-radicals, lowered body mass index, muscle and bone degeneration, and lowering blood pressure.
Having said that, any diet preference, be it vegetarian, vegan, or non-vegetarian, can be unhealthy if you are not being careful or rather eating carefully. The most important thing to remember to eat right is ensuring that your body is getting the key nutrients. Proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, minerals – the importance of the key nutrients become paramount as you age.
How to meet the nutritional needs of a vegetarian diet for elders?
Eating a wide variety of foods would be just easier to get the nutrients you need. By being a vegetarian or shifting to a vegan diet, you are basically cutting down a lot of resources for essential nutrients. But the good news is that a balanced vegetarian diet can be the source of all the nutrients you need (if not more). That’s why you should know your food resources for essential nutrients.
What are the best vegetarian sources for protein?
Protein is the raw material your body needs to repair or build tissue. A complete protein is made of 9 essential amino acids. Let’s address the elephant in the room first. Most plant-based diets do not contain all the 9 essential amino acids except soy products, and amaranth seeds.
However, you can combine various vegetarian protein-rich foods such as nuts and seeds, legumes and lentils, cereals and pseudo cereals, and get the essential nutrients every day.
What are the best vegetarian sources for minerals?
The list of dietary minerals is long, and your body needs them to keep the key organs healthy and functioning. Minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium, fluoride, iodine, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and selenium are entitled for a plethora of jobs starting from bones, blood, teeth, heart, brain and in the entire body.
A balanced and daily intake of legumes, cereals, wholegrains, tofu, dark greens, leafy greens, almonds, fruits, and some seeds are great sources for your mineral needs.
What are the best vegetarian sources for vitamins?
These are the micronutrients your body needs daily. Vitamins are actively involved in energy processing in the body. They are also directly responsible for cell production and growth. Vitamins are essential in immunity as well. All fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins. If you are a vegetarian but take eggs, you are getting an array of vitamins like A, D, B2, B12. If you don’t eat eggs, take milk extracted from soy or almonds. Beans such as soy, black beans, and chickpeas are great sources for vitamins.
So, what should be on your plate when you are above 60?
This is a complex question to answer. Each body is different, and each person will have different nutritional needs. If you want to fulfill your body’s everyday diet needs as you age, here is your tip.
- The plate has a variety of foods – Colorful fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, lentils, and tofu.
- Snacks that are healthy – If you are craving for a snack, go for seeds and nuts. Pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, and pistachios are great choices.
- Plenty of water and other liquids – Take water at regular intervals. And drink fresh juices between meals to stay hydrated.
Here are certain foods that you should be avoiding making the dining experience a complete one, even for a vegetarian!
- Avoid deep fried vegetables and nuts. Greasy fries or toasts would be the last thing you want in your menu.
- Limit or avoid your alcohol consumption. And, completely quit smoking.
Diet should be working in your favor. Do not consume anything that works against you. These food habits are proven and followed across many assisted living facilities and luxurious senior living homes across the world. Your body tells what’s working and what’s not. Pay close attention to it and your old age would indeed be a golden age.