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Importance of Nutritional Considerations in Seniors: Interview with an Expert

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Importance of Nutritional Considerations in Seniors: Interview with an Expert

by Faith McNamara

With the ageing process, one’s nutritional needs undergo dynamic changes. This brings several challenges and difficulties regarding health and well-being.

To plunge into this subject, we talked with Beanie Robinson, a professional nutritionist, who is especially good at offering nutritional services to women. Her insight contributes to a better understanding of senior nutrition, providing simple practical information and tips to help older adults have a healthy lifestyle.

Introducing Beanie Robinson

Beanie Robinson’s Health Space is a clinic focused on women’s health and nutrition issues. She works with individuals from all walks of life. Her large database of clientele gets professional nutritionist help for different reasons; some aim for weight loss, while others seek assistance in managing conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

She mentioned that her main focus is women, however, Beanie highlights the fact that principles of good nutrition are unquestionably relevant in all age groups and genders.

Key Nutritional Needs for Seniors

One of the cruxes of Beanie’s focus is the importance of hydration, which she believes is less strictly followed by youngsters and adults. Beanie says, "It might sound very basic but waking up and boiling the water and maybe filling half-pint to a pint of hot water… just drinking some water in the morning when your body needs it the most is a great start. This is important, especially among seniors who often have dehydration problems."

Additionally, Beanie emphasises the significance of fibre intake, which is crucial for digestive health and regularity, particularly in seniors prone to constipation. She recommends incorporating ample vegetables into meals, ideally half the plate consisting of vegetables. This emphasis on fibre-rich foods is essential for seniors to maintain digestive health and overall well-being.

Furthermore, adequate protein consumption by seniors is the key to maintaining their muscle mass and bone density. Beanie puts forward an argument in favour of lean protein sources like chicken, and turkey and plant-based options such as lentils and beans.

She advises, “Good quality protein is really important for seniors to maintain muscle mass and support bone density."

Navigating Carbohydrates and Sugars

When talking about carbohydrates, Beanie explains how consuming complex ones instead of refined ones is highly beneficial. She recommends to "reduce the grains [seniors] consume and follow suit with root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and squash." By giving attention to complex carbs, the elderly could have better control over their blood sugar levels and gain better health in general.

Furthermore, Beanie emphasises reducing the intake of processed sugars, because excessive sugar consumption may cause many problems. This includes cognitive decline.

She adds that we should use fruits and root vegetables instead of starches. "It’s just getting people to think slightly differently about how you’re building a plate and instead of basing it around the white carb, could we maybe switch it for something different instead?"

Addressing Common Deficiencies and Supplements

Many seniors struggle with sun deficiency or dietary gaps, and in her practice, Beanie often comes across vitamin D and vitamin C deficiency among seniors in particular.

Supposing bright sun is unavailable, or their diets are not adequate, supplementation might be needed for sufficient levels of all nutrients. She advises “Vitamin D can be very important…in particular if we have to be in the UK in the winter months”.

She further proposes taking probiotics, especially after taking antibiotics, to restore the beneficial gut microbiome hindered during digestion.

Promoting Cognitive Health and Metabolism

As we grow old, it is ideal that we prioritise our cognitive health, and Beanie illustrates the implication of nutrition and lifestyle factors in this matter. She particularly promotes the intake of healthy fats. This includes avocado, olive oil, and nuts, which are advantageous to brain function.

Maintaining a balanced diet, being physically active regularly, creating and nurturing social connections, and getting proper sleep are also vital factors for cognitive performance.

Metabolism is one of the subjects that she discusses under the heading of ageing. The ageing process can negatively affect metabolic rates and the absorption of nutrients.

She points out, "With time, food amounts might be changing and the metabolism might be working differently". However, she stresses that one should ensure that the food is nutrient-dense and adequate hydration maintained to support overall metabolic function and digestive health.

With some health issues, many seniors eat less. That may be due to pain or their hunger levels dropping. A lowering in hunger levels can be dangerous and lead to malnutrition.

Beanie suggests that a way to combat this is by providing seniors with a nutrient-rich smoothie full of fruit, greens and healthy fats found in yoghurts. She also recommended “adding chia or flax seeds [for the] needed fibre”.

Personalised Approach to Nutrition

Beanie’s main focal point in our discussion is the need for personalised nutrition advice, that is tailored to the individual requirements of different people. Everyone has foods they like and dislike. With the help of a professional nutritionist, seniors can find what works best for them and even try new things they hadn’t thought of before.

By providing variety, choice, and education, Beanie strives to empower her clients. She does this by helping them make sustainable food choices that promote overall health for the long term.

Older age presents many intricacies in life, and from this, the benefits of nutrition to our health should be fully appreciated. Thanks to the advice from health professionals such as Beanie Robinson, seniors can improve the quality of their lives by eating food which helps their bodies function more effectively, process information faster and stay healthy for longer.

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