Revera was the first company in the Canadian senior living sector to appoint a Chief Medical Officer. In her blog series, Dr. Rhonda Collins offers helpful advice for seniors to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.
I love food. From salad and sushi to sirloin steak and everything in between, the potential to express oneself and one’s culture through food is immense. Food has the power to transport us to different moments in our lives and remind us of the people we love and places we’ve been. This is especially true for older adults.
This guide is a big step forward towards helping Canadians understand what a healthy diet can look like, but it doesn’t paint a complete picture, especially for older adults.
Recently, Health Canada relaunched Canada’s Food Guide. The guide promotes a more Mediterranean diet featuring lots of fruits and veggies and a protein diet that minimizes the consumption of meat and other animal products.
This guide is a big step forward towards helping Canadians understand what a healthy diet can look like, but it doesn’t paint a complete picture, especially for older adults. As we age, we naturally begin to lose muscle mass. As a result, it’s very important for older adults to eat a diet that contains more protein to limit this – typically, this means consuming one to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight every day.
For older adults, meat, poultry, fish, eggs and milk products are the best sources of proteins because they also contain the amino acids that the body needs. These items also provide the best ratio of protein to calories, meaning they’re high in protein and low in calories when compared to the amount of plant-based protein you would need to eat to equal the same amount of protein. This is also important for older adults who want to make sure they’re getting the nutrition they need without packing on unnecessary pounds.
On top of eating for nutritional value, I believe that older adults have earned the right to treat themselves to the foods they love. What’s the point of being healthy if you can’t do, or eat, the things you enjoy every now and then? This doesn’t mean you should be dining on cheeseburgers and beer every night, but once in a while it’s ok to “cheat” on your diet. Moderation is the key.
Food is often described as the gateway to the soul, and it’s true. It fuels our bodies to live our lives, and it can also make life a little more special.
Dr. Rhonda Collins
brings passion and expertise in memory care, dementia, falls prevention and clinical quality improvement to the role of Revera’s Chief Medical Officer – a first for the Canadian senior living sector. Dr. Collins is a family physician with a certificate of added competence in Care of the Elderly from the College of Family Physicians of Canada.