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Senior Nutrition & The Importance of Fiber

Nutrition is an important topic for people of all ages, and especially now as March is National Nutrition Month. As we move from infancy through childhood and then become adults, our dietary needs shift as our bodies change with age. The foods we ate when we were younger can often leave us feeling ill and out of sorts if we eat them when we are older. For the elderly population, understanding the physiological changes and how this affects nutrition and overall health is something that the certified dietary team at Heritage Health takes very seriously.

As we age, our bodies' ability to absorb nutrients slows down due to changes in our gastrointestinal tract. This causes intestinal motility to slow down which can lead to constipation as well as nutrient deficiencies. This is why a fiber-rich diet is so important. The dietary team at Heritage Health creates fiber-rich meal options to help our senior residents maintain a balanced diet that leaves them feeling healthy and strong.

Eating foods rich in dietary fiber has many health benefits outside of avoiding the uncomfortableness of constipation: it can lower the risk of heart disease and type-2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels and reducing high cholesterol. And because diets rich in fiber can make you feel full longer, you may reduce your intake of calories and shed a few pounds. Some research has even shown that a high-fiber diet may lower the risk of some cancers, including colorectal cancer.

Because nutrition for seniors is different than for people of other ages, the dietary team at Heritage Health develops and provides menus and food choices appropriate for each individual resident. Ensuring that our residents receive the proper balance of nutrients, including fiber, is a critical part of the dietary care we provide.

The American Dietitic Association recommends that men over the age of 50 receive 30 grams of fiber each day, with women over the age of 50 requiring 21 grams daily. Dietary fiber can be found in lots of plant-based foods (vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and grains) and are easy to work into your daily nutritional intake. Fiber-rich foods to include in your diet include: peas, lima beans, black beans, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, raspberries, blackberries, avocados, oatmeal, pears and whole wheat pasta.

The health of your intestinal tract and your body's ability to digest food is a very important part of your overall health.If you or someone you care for is not getting enough fiber through their diet, you can consider a supplement. Talk with the healthcare team at Heritage Health if you have concerns, or with your healthcare provider to find out if a fiber supplement is something that should be part of a daily routine.

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National Nutrition Month


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Saturday, April 20, 2019

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