Healthy foods can be very beneficial at any stage of a human’s life, much more for elderly people whose risk of developing major illnesses is higher. A recent study confirms that eating healthy foods can help to extend the lives of senior citizens. With that, it is never too late to go vegan—this can be the best decision seniors will make in their life.
Why should seniors consider going vegan?
As we age, our body requires fewer calories due to the changes in our metabolism and body composition. This means older people need to cut down their intake of high-calorie foods such as some types of meat, sugary desserts, drinks, and the like.
Although elderly individuals may need fewer calories, they still need to maintain a good quality diet to get their vitamins and minerals. They can achieve this by eating nutrient-dense foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Changes in eating habits also take place as we get older. Most seniors will find it difficult to eat and chew tough foods such as meat-based meals. This is not to mention the fact that they’re relatively harder to digest. Nevertheless, with a vegan meal plan, life will be much easier and healthier for the elderly.
Another important consideration when deciding to shift to a plant-based diet in your later years is the required preparation. Without a doubt, vegan meals are much easier to prepare, especially for older adults who are living independently.
Given the decrease in their calorie consumption, seniors tend to stay away from doing heavy tasks. Fortunately, plant-based diets are senior-friendly and preparing them won’t take much of their energy.
What a vegan diet consists of
Seniors don’t have to avoid their favourite foods when they go vegan. Vegan meals are essentially plant-based, and they can come in abundant, tasty varieties.
So what makes up a vegan diet?
A vegan diet avoids animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy. It includes all kinds of fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, nuts, beans, and pulses. Seniors can prepare these plant products in countless combinations to continuously satiate their appetite with relish.
What are the nutritional components of a vegan diet?
Plant-based meals are rich in nutrients that are essential to the health and longevity of elderly individuals. A vegan diet should contain one or more of the following:
Additionally, older people have other options when eating a vegan diet. There are ready-made vegan products which they can conveniently purchase online and from major food stores. A great example of one of these products is Roar Nature’s granola products. These breakfast products contain some of the above nutrients, such as protein and fibre, which are needed by the elderly. They have a choice between peanut butter and dark chocolate flavours, too.
How these nutrients can help older people
While seniors’ caloric requirements decrease, their nutritional needs do not. Older people may need even more nutrients to help them cope with the risks associated with ageing. Eating healthy vegan meals helps older people achieve their daily nutrient requirements.
Maintain energy level. Because of the reduced level of physical activity, older adults also lose their muscle mass. The best way to keep their muscles at optimal health is to eat foods rich in protein. Many vegan foods are protein-rich—they can eat beans, seeds, nuts, soy products, legumes, and yogurt.
Keep bones strong. Ageing can also weaken the bones and increase the risk of bone-related illnesses such as osteoporosis and arthritis, which are common among seniors. This is due to the lack of calcium in their bones. Eating foods that are rich in calcium such as dark green leafy vegetables, blackstrap molasses, or soy milk will help aged people fight calcium deficiency and other related diseases.
Improve metabolism. Metabolism slowdown is a natural part of the ageing process. Eating foods with high fibre contents help seniors improve their digestion. Starchy foods such as brown rice, oats, wholemeal bread, and sweet potato have abundant fibre components.
Strengthen the immune system and fight other diseases. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals, which are essential in boosting the immune system of older individuals. Also, plant-based diets contain other nutrients such as iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and iodine that are helpful in fighting different health problems that older people may have.
Being vegan brings ample benefits to senior citizens. Eating healthy foods can significantly keep them in the pink and add to their golden years. Without a doubt, being vegan is one of the healthiest lifestyle changes an older adult will ever make.