According to Kelley D. Hamilton of Salem, Oregon, many seniors do not consume the necessary vitamins and minerals for optimal nutritional health. Understanding how vitamins and minerals influence overall health will improve their lifestyles, says Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon based CEO of Bonaventure Senior Living.
Aicube: What’s the leading goal for seniors in terms of diet plans?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: With many seniors, maintaining their weight is a primary concern. As we age, appetites can sometimes decrease, so it’s extra important to be mindful of proper nutrition.
Aicube: How is this accomplished?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: A balanced diet is important, but many seniors take vitamin supplements or nutrition shakes to ensure the proper daily nutrition. The dining services team at Bonaventure specifically design meals and menu options with balanced nutrition in mind, which makes eating healthy easy and tasty. Of course, fresh unprocessed foods are ideal, and our chefs use fresh local ingredients whenever possible.
Aicube: What are the characteristics of these foods?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: The less processed the food, the more nutritious. Often times, even foods we think of as being healthy can become less than ideal due to the manufacturing processes and even cooking methods. Boiling vegetables can drain their nutrients quickly. Raw or steamed vegetables are great “super foods.”
Aicube: How should senior adults first approach an adjustment to their diets?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: An increase in fruit and vegetable intake is a great first step. The added fiber and natural sweetness can be a great replacement for less healthy food options. Of course, any time you make a significant change to your diet, it is advised to discuss this with your primary care physician or dietician.
Aicube: Is there a proper way to prepare these foods?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Again, vegetables should be steamed, grilled or sautéed, but not fried or boiled to a mush. Most nutritionists recommend that fruit be eaten in the whole fruit form.
Aicube: Why is that?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: For the additional fiber. Fruit juice has very little fiber, if any. Plus, the fiber provides a few extra calories which is typically important for seniors to maintain a healthy weight. Seniors should avoid canned fruit packed in heavy syrup due to the excess added sugar.
Aicube: Can dairy be part of a senior’s diet?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Fat-free and low-fat dairy products including cheese, yogurt and milk are good for people of all ages, but the added calcium is especially important for seniors who may have issues with bone density or osteoporosis.
Aicube: These foods have potassium as well…
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: That’s right. For a well-rounded diet, seniors should include several foods that contain potassium such as bananas.
Aicube: What are some other fruits and vegetables that fall into this category?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: In addition to banans, tomatoes and sweet potatoes are a great source.
Aicube: What’s one underrated food in a senior’s diet?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: I would say it might be beans, for instance, pinto beans, garbanzo beans and black beans.
Aicube: Why are beans such a crucial ingredient?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Beans are a vegetable containing a significant amount of protein, along with a number of other nutrients.
Aicube: What other sources of protein are can you recommend?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Lean protein foods like poultry, eggs and nuts are proven to help seniors stay healthy.
Aicube: What about seafood?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Absolutely! Seniors can opt for seafood in place of other lean proteins at least once a week. Salmon is a great option and is full of omega-3 fatty acids which have a number of positive health benefits.
Aicube: Are there any other nutrients and minerals we haven’t talked about yet?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Foods that are high in fiber, vitamin D and calcium should definitely be a major priority.
Aicube: How else can senior adults supplement their diets?
Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Proper diet is important, but should also be combined with regular physical activity under the advisement of a doctor. For many seniors, mobility can be an issue so it’s important to find low impact exercises that are possible to maintain on a regular schedule such as walking, yoga, or even water aerobics or swimming if you have access to a pool.
About Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon: Kelley D. Hamilton of Salem, Oregon, has managed the operations for Bonaventure Senior Living since 2001. As the Chief Executive Officer, Kelley D. Hamilton coordinates all construction projects for the organization in addition to the day-to-day operations. According to Kelley D. Hamilton, Salem, Oregon and its residents have proven highly supportive of the organization’s local development.
Disclaimer: This article is generally informative and is not intended to offer specific medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program.