3 Ways to Fulfill Summer Nutritional Needs for Seniors

3 Ways to Fulfill Summer Nutritional Needs for Seniors

Thumbnail image by Silvia from Pixabay

By Rebecca Fending 

Summer is when it’s easy to slip behind on your health regimen due to having lots of fun in the sun. Whether that means sweating more than usual or not properly caring for a sunburn, here are several ways to make sure you stay looking and feeling your best: 

It Starts with a Fresh Diet 

Summer is a wonderful time of year solely due to the fantastic produce you can find at farmers’ markets and even in your local Publix. There’s never a better time than right now to work more fresh whole foods into your diet.  

Whether you’re looking to build a salad or just prep fresh fruit as a snack, focus on ingredients that have a high water content. Produce like cucumbers, watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce are great additions to your daily diet, especially if you sweat a lot throughout the day.  

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Senior-Specific Meal Ideas 

As we age, our bodies demand more from us in terms of nutrient-dense foods. Seniors need to increase their vitamin D and calcium intake in order to keep their immune systems, bones and general well-being in check. Dishes heavy on robust, leafy greens are a great way to meet this demand in a delicious and direct way. Load up a bowl with spinach, kale or collard greens and jazz it up with beans and fish like sardines, salmon, perch and rainbow trout.  

Another great way to sneak more calcium into your diet is by purchasing calcium-fortified foods such as orange juice with added calcium or oatmeal. As an added bonus, calcium-rich foods tend to also include vitamin B12, another crucial vitamin needed in larger quantities by seniors.  

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After Sun Care 

Ideally, there wouldn’t be a sunburn to care for in the first place. Seniors are at a higher risk for skin cancer, meaning preventative sun care is absolutely imperative. However, we’re human and either decide we don’t need sunblock or forget to reapply throughout the day. Especially during the busy summer season. If you find yourself with a nasty sunburn that’s keeping you down, here’s what you can do: 

  • Keep the skin hydrated. The best thing you can do once you realize that you may be developing a sunburn is to keep it well hydrated with lotions, hydrating oils or aloe. Sunburns can take up to 72 hours to develop, so be sure to keep your skin hydrated for the next several days. This will help pacify the burning and tightening skin as the burn settles in.  
  • Have the aloe on deck. It’s well known that aloe vera is a necessity during the summer, especially for those with fair skin. Whether you’re using bottled or fresh-from-the-leaf aloe, it acts as instant relief for burning, angry skin. That goes for common household burns from styling tools, hot cooking utensils and more. 
  • Keep an eye out for any strange marks. If you have any moles or beauty marks that seem to be changing in shape or color, reach out to your doctor for a consultation.