Plant-Based Diets – Nutrients to Support Healthy Aging

Vegan and vegetarian diets are becoming more popular across the globe for all aged groups. Some people are changing their diets out of concern for animal welfare, others for the environment and some for their health – but is a plant-based diet right for older adults?

Home Care, Caregivers, Plant Based Diets, Diet

A plant-based diet, one that avoids or limits animal products in favour of whole, minimally processed fruits, grains and vegetables, can provide a raft of benefits. Studies have shown that a vegan or vegetarian diet can support the immune system and lower the risk of heart disease and stroke.

For those over the age of 65 who would like to give plant-based eating a try, the following tips will help to ensure you have the right nutrients to support healthy ageing:

  • Protein – older adults require slightly more protein to maintain healthy muscle mass and support functions such as wound healing. Plant-based proteins such as chickpeas, tofu, beans, nuts and lentils should be included in every meal.
  • Calcium and vitamin D – both support bone health which becomes increasingly important as we age. Calcium can be sourced from dairy for vegetarians and fortified foods such as dairy replacements, cereals and bread. Vitamin D intake may be best supported, particularly in the winter months, with a supplement.
  • Vitamin B12 – keeps the nervous system healthy and supports the production of red blood cells. For those avoiding animal rich sources of B12 such as meat and eggs, B12 can be difficult to find. Fortified foods such as marmite, cereals and nutritional yeast are good options, but many vegans take a B12 supplement to ensure they stay healthy.

A plant-based diet can be a great option for older adults. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to ensure you are meeting your specific nutritional needs.

For more information on plant-based diets for older adults, go to: five things for over-65s to consider when switching to a plant-based diet

Need help to order and collect the groceries or to cook a healthy meal? InPlace Care offers carers and domestic assistants that can help support for those that are locked at home. Check the wide variety of services for the help and support you need to live a happy active life.

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