nurse helping woman drink waterAs we age, our bodies need less calories and thirst increases, yet the average senior diet often lacks nutrients and fluid intake. For older individuals to maintain optimal health, the following areas should be a primary focus.


MyPlate is a modern version of the food pyramid that promotes healthy eating for all age groups. Seniors should drink 8 – 10 glasses of water a day, yet hydration doesn’t always have to come from H2O. Consider tea, milk and even broth-based soups.

Keep in mind that medications can increase thirst and, if not addressed, could lead to dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, headache, confusion and fatigue.


Although recommended protein intake is based on body weight, the average woman should consume around 55 grams per day, while the average man should have 65 grams. Common protein-rich foods include:

  • Chicken: 28 grams per 3 ounces
  • Salmon: 22 grams per 3 ounces
  • Egg: 6 grams for one large
  • Greek Yogurt: 18 grams per 6 ounces
  • Pinto Beans: 11 grams per cup
  • Almonds: 6 grams per 1 ounce

Protein is important to seniors for immune health and muscle strength, to prevent falls and risk for infection. If your loved one has trouble chewing or swallowing, drinking milk, shakes and smoothies can also be sources of protein.


Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that regulates sugar in the body. Fibrous foods slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream; a critical factor in diabetes prevention. When your blood glucose levels are unstable, you may experience:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Headache
  • Vision problems
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion


MyPlate recommends approximately 2.4 micrograms of Vitamin B12 per day, which benefits the blood, nervous system and brain. Seniors should also increase Vitamin D intake to slow bone loss and lower fracture risk. Sources include:

  • Vitamin B12: Tuna, salmon trout and other fish, breakfast cereals, yogurt, beef, eggs
  • Vitamin D: Mackerel, sardines, black cod and other fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks

Heart Health

One easy way to improve heart health is by consuming less salt in our diets. Salt increases blood pressure, which puts people at risk for heart attack, stroke and other health complications. Try seasoning food with other spices to cut back on salt intake.
Avon Health Center is dedicated to healthy living for our residents and all older individuals in the community. To learn more about our services, contact us today!