Nutrition : How to Eat Clean on a Vegetarian Diet
How to Go Vegetarian As a Senior Citizen
There are potential health benefits to going vegetarian as a senior, such as a decreased risk for ailments like heart attacks and strokes.You also may want to go vegetarian for ethical reasons. If you choose to go vegetarian, do so in a healthy fashion. Make sure to adequate protein, as well as things like calcium and vitamin D. Eat your foods in a healthy manner and avoid eating out too often. You may want to talk to a doctor or registered dietitian to make sure you are getting enough of certain vitamins and nutrients.
Getting Adequate Nutrients
Eat protein dense foods.Protein gets more important as you age. While many people are concerned with protein intake with a vegetarian diet, it's easy to get enough protein if you make a point of eating protein rich foods throughout the day.
- Beans, soybeans, and peanuts are an excellent source of nutrients in addition to protein.
- Soy-based products can be used as a meat or dairy substitute. You can opt for soy milk as well as tofu.
Go for potassium-rich foods.Potassium is important for your health as a senior as it keeps blood pressure under control. Opt for potassium-rich foods in your diet, such as cumin-seeds and limes. Try drinking coconut water on occasion, as this is also high in potassium.
- Other sources of potassium include bananas, sweet potatoes, beets, yogurts, and tomato-based sauces.
Seek out alternative sources of calcium.Calcium is important for bone health as you age. Most of the foods you would eat on a non-vegetarian diet will provide with adequate calcium. Go for low-fat or fat-free cheeses, yogurt, and milks. You can also drink juices and other beverages fortified with calcium.
- If you're going vegan rather than just vegetarian, go for calcium-rich or fortified foods, such as tofu, plant-based drinks fortified with calcium, and leafy greens.
- You may want to talk to your doctor about potentially taking a calcium supplement.
Make sure to get an adequate vitamin D intake.Vitamin D may be a struggle to get if you're going for a vegetarian diet. Get your vitamin D through fortified drinks such as milk, fortified orange juice, or plant based milks such as soy or almond. Sunshine, however, is more important than diet for vitamin D, so make sure you go outdoors on occasion.
Do not cook vegetables or tofu in a lot of fat or oils.When preparing vegetarian foods, how you cook them is important. Avoid frying foods in fatty oils, like vegetable oil, or things like butter.
- Instead, try cooking your foods in olive or mustard oil.You should also opt for a non-stick pan to cut back on your overall need for oil when cooking.
Eat several small meals each day.Seniors should have at least three meals per day, but many find it is easier to meet nutritional needs with five to six small meals throughout the day.
- For example, eat a light breakfast such as a small bowl of yogurt with fruit. Then, have several healthy, vegetarian snacks leading up to a similarly light lunch.
Make sure to drink plenty of water.Drinking water with your meal helps if you have an issue swallowing solid foods, which is a common issue amongst senior citizens. It can also help with issues like constipation. In addition to eating nutrient-rich foods, you should keep up with your water intake on a vegetarian diet. Go for seven to eight glasses of water each day.
- If you drink other liquids, make sure to avoid very sugary, high-calorie liquids. Opt for diet sodas and juices without added sugar.
Go for heartier vegetable soups.Vegetable soups can be a healthy option for dinner if you're going vegetarian. However, how they're prepared does make a difference. Opt for hearty soups made with cream and that contain some sort of protein such as beans or lentils.
Seeking Medical Support
Check your vitamin B12 levels.Vitamin B12 can be hard to obtain if you're vegan as it's found in many animal products. It's a good idea to have your vitamin B12 levels checked if you've recently transitioned into a vegan diet.
- If you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, your doctor my recommend supplements.
- Good sources of vitamin B12 include fortified cereals, lean meat, and fish.
See a dietitian if you have certain health concerns.While a vegetarian diet is healthy for most people, you should always talk to a doctor before making dietary changes if you have age-related health concerns. You want to make sure you can still get the nutrients you need on a vegetarian diet. Ask your doctor about a vegetarian diet if you have high blood pressure or heart disease.
Ask about supplements to get Omega 3 Fatty Acids.Omega 3 Fatty Acids may also be difficult to obtain on a vegetarian diet. Ask your doctor whether taking supplements is a good idea. Your doctor will perform an exam and possibly do blood work to see if Omega 3 Fatty Acids are a good option for you.
- Do not start taking supplements without consulting a doctor. Supplements could potentially interfere with medication.
- If you have issues swallowing, let your doctor or caregiver know immediately. Warning signs may be the inability to swallow, spitting food into your napkin, or pocketing food in your cheeks or gums. This can lead to choking, which may be life threatening.
- If you experience unintentional weight loss after becoming a vegetarian, talk to your doctor immediately. He/she can refer you to a registered dietitian and determine whether weight loss is beneficial or detrimental to your health.
Video: The Best Way for a VEGAN to Lose Belly Fat
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