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Senior Wisdom

Maturity should bring wisdom and when considering adequate nutrition, each of us has life experiences that have guided us toward making suitable food choices. Women are often the special keepers of that accumulated health knowledge which has proven itself to be tried and true over a lifetime.

Gradually over time however, changes occur within our bodies that require some new considerations and practices. After age 40, women begin to replace some muscle tissue with fat tissue leading to a reduction in the number of calories one needs as they age. Hormones that once protected women from the risk of heart disease now decline and after menopause women are more likely to put on weight in the dangerous abdominal area. Bone mineral density may also decline as a result of carefree consumption during earlier stages in a woman’s life and a declining ability to absorb valuable nutrients.

A lifetime of healthy eating and exercise should prevent some of the more devastating changes that accompany aging. A healthy intake for the adult woman should include adequate amounts of all nutrients known to be essential. Although nutrient needs are the same throughout adulthood, this must be offset by a diminished requirement for calories as one ages. Foods consumed should contain the most nutrients one can get for the number of calories the food supplies. This is what nutrition experts mean by nutrient density, which has growing importance as we age.

Nutritional concerns for mature women include adequate protein, fluid, vitamin and mineral intake. Animal protein intake has been shown to be beneficial in preserving a women’s bone mineral density. Vitamin and mineral intakes play a large role in preserving a woman’s health and immunity since resistance to infection is often one of the first defenses to be lost when dietary intake is inadequate. As we ages, some of our natural defenses to foodborne illness diminishes including sight, taste and smell as well as stomach acid output that kills bacteria after it reaches the stomach. This makes women more susceptible to foodborne illness as they age.

Consuming enough vitamins and minerals can also help avoid gum disease which makes chewing food a burdensome challenge. For those women who have difficulty chewing food due to medical problems or poor dentition, eggs are soft and easily chewed yet packed with easily digestible nutrients.

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