What is Senior Nutrition?
Simply put, senior nutrition is the same as it is for every person young or old. As such, nutrition for seniors must address the specific nutritional needs of each senior on an individual basis. Keep in mind, the aging process is going to cause natural changes and as a result, things simply don’t work as well as they did when you were young. Think of it as a rite of passage.
However, when it comes to growing older gracefully and healthy, there are myriad factors to consider that include:
- Medications – most seniors are on one or more medications (drug-induced nutritional deficiencies).
- Inefficient digestive systems – albeit a widespread problem today, as a senior your digestive system is known to become more inefficient due to the age factor.
- Toxins – the potential for greater toxin accumulation resulting from an inefficient detox system
- Long-term nutritional deficiencies
- Loss of appetite – resulting in subclinical or clinical malnutrition
- Activity levels – physical activities (intensity, duration, frequency, etc.) normally decline with age.
- Senior citizen facility nutrition
Each of these factors increases the natural effects of aging and the demands of senior nutrition. As such, don’t be fooled by commercial products claiming to provide all the nutrients you need.
Senior nutrition programs – are they reliable?
As you research senior nutrition programs, the only programs that are worth considering are the ones that specifically address nutrition on a personal level. We realize this is redundant but it is not possible to overstate this important fact:
You have specific nutritional needs that are unique only to you that need fulfilled.
As you know by now, you are rarely treated as a unique individual. This becomes extremely self-evident when it comes to nutrition and nutritional recommendations. As you read the advice of institutions and associations (or your favorite TV doctor) providing your nutritional advice, keep this most important fact in mind:
They DO NOT know anything about you or your specific nutritional needs!
They don’t know which nutrients are excessive or deficient nor do they know which toxins may be affecting you. Once again, you are simply grouped into the masses.
Let’s take a look at a quick example of horrible nutritional advice. As a senior citizen, you are probably somewhat concerned about osteoporosis. You are constantly informed to consume lots of calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone problems. The more calcium you consume the better.
Yes, calcium is a major constituent of healthy bones and the majority of calcium in your body is in the bone. However, calcium is only one of several nutrients required to build and maintain strong bones!
The process of bone formation requires an adequate and constant supply of nutrients, such as calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, potassium, and fluoride. However, there are several other vitamins and minerals needed for metabolic processes related to bone, including manganese, copper, boron, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and the B vitamins. (see references below)
Here’s the problem with the over-consumption of calcium.
Every nutrient has an important and dynamic interrelationship with numerous other nutrients in order to work. This simply means that if one nutrient becomes excessive it will contribute toward the deficiency of the other nutrients. These relationships are not new and have been studied for over a century. This information is in peer-reviewed scientific journals around the world.
Calcium has a dynamic relationship with numerous other minerals, vitamins, and amino acids. However, to keep it simple, excessive calcium may become antagonistic (work against) toward magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, sodium, zinc, and iron. Aren’t those the same minerals (in italics) as just seen in the quote? Each of these nutrients now become out of balance with each nutrient of their respective nutrient relationships.
Keep in mind numerous other factors as seen throughout this website must be considered but as you can see from this limited example, an excess of calcium may easily become antagonist toward numerous other nutrients required for healthy bones. This does not apply only to your bones but your general health as well.
More importantly, as you may surmise by now, generalized nutritional advice (from any source) for the masses is not good nutritional advice at any age. Nutrition must be personalized and validated through nutritional laboratory analyses!
Note: Excessive calcium carries a long list of other potential health problems as well.
Personalized nutrition is not a miracle!
Your mind and body are miraculous and nutrition is the fuel it needs to perform at its best! However, to keep this in proper perspective, don’t expect an individually tailored nutritional program to perform miracles. As stated earlier, you have taxed your mind and body for a long time that may have already resulted in health problems.
However, improving your nutrition does provide the mind and body the best potential to heal and may help prevent or delay the onset of further health issues. As such, it is never too late to improve your nutrition.
Senior citizen facilities and nutrition.
You may be in a senior facility or researching nutrition for someone you know in a senior facility. Either way, most facilities do not prepare specific meals for each resident. This is understandable. However, if you or a person you know is in a senior facility, a personal nutrition plan may still prove quite helpful.
Normally, meal plans in these facilities do provide a variety of healthy foods that allow you to avoid or increase certain foods when served. A personalized supplement program (such as the one we provide) is also very helpful but it may be more expensive than most may afford.
However, there are certain supplements that may be recommended that will provide the greatest benefits such as specific digestive aids. By simply improving the digestive system, marked improvements in nutrition may result. These recommendations can be discussed during a consultation.
Note: This applies to all food assistance programs and senior nutrition programs.
Is hair analysis useful for senior nutrition?
Our hair analysis is an excellent tool for senior nutrition. Hair is simple to collect, non-invasive, and reveals nutritional element imbalances (excesses and deficiencies) and toxic elements. Our Trace Elements Inc. Profile 2 hair analysis includes foods to increase and avoid as well as supplement recommendations. It also includes a consultation.
Note: DO NOT stop any of your medications unless instructed by your healthcare professional. It is important to consult with your healthcare professional about your specific dietary needs and any planned dietary changes.
Additional pages that may interest you:
- Healthy Foods: What constitutes a healthy food?
- Malnutrition: It is not what you think!
- Why Test for Minerals: Minerals are foundational in nutrition!
- Dietary Supplement Safety: Are they helpful, harmful, or a waste of money?
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The content and laboratory services provided on this site are for educational and informational purposes only and not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure disease.
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The process of bone formation requires an adequate and constant supply of nutrients, such as calcium, protein, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, potassium, and fluoride. However, there are several other vitamins and minerals needed for metabolic processes related to bone, including manganese, copper, boron, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, and the B vitamins.
The role of nutrients in bone health, from A to Z. Palacios C. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(8):621-8. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17092827
Approximately 80-90% of bone mineral content is comprised of calcium and phosphorus. Other dietary components, such as protein, magnesium, zinc, copper, iron, fluoride, vitamins D, A, C, and K are required for normal bone metabolism…
Nutrition in bone health revisited: a story beyond calcium. Ilich JZ, Kerstetter JE. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Nov-Dec;19(6):715-37. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11194525
Several nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin K, several B vitamins, and carotenoids, have been shown to be more important than previously realized. Rather than having a negative effect on bone, protein intake appears to benefit bone status, particularly in older adults.
Osteoporosis prevention and nutrition. Tucker KL. Curr Osteoporos Rep. 2009 Dec;7(4):111-7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19968914
There are other foods, and nutrients besides calcium and vitamin D, that contribute to bone health, including protein, fruits and vegetables, and other vitamins and minerals.
The International Osteoporosis Foundation http://www.iofbonehealth.org/sites/default/files/PDFs/good_nutrition_for_healthy_bones.pdf
Some drugs may interfere with calcium and other nutrients and produce an unfavourable effect on bone health.
[Diet, nutrition and bone health]. Miggiano GA, Gagliardi L. Clin Ter. 2005 Jan-Apr;156(1-2):47-56. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16080661
Micronutrients and Bone Health http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/bone-health