It is normal for older adults to experience some changes in their tastebuds and therefore their sense of taste. In fact, many of them have already lost two-thirds of their taste buds by the age of 70. This impacts their sensitivity to tastes such as sweet and salty. Some medications and medical conditions may also reduce the older person’s taste, causing some foods to taste bland. That is why older people tend to overcompensate with higher intakes of salt and sugar.
Moderating these ingredients is key to keeping healthy and mitigating the risks. Consuming excessive amounts of salt and sugar may lead to conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, liver disease, autoimmune disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Since older people are already at a higher risk of these conditions, it is important for them to be aware of how much salt and sugar they are taking in. Read on to find out about the ways to manage salt and sugar intake as you age.
Consult Your Doctor
The first thing you need to do is to consult your doctor. It is recommended that you consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and less than 10 percent of calories from the added sugars. Check with your doctor to see how much salt and sugar are acceptable for your diet. Do monitor these numbers regularly too.
Don’t Skip Meals
Without sufficient carbohydrates, older people tend to crave sugar. Try to plan out healthy meals using fresh and natural ingredients to keep the cravings away. If needed, you can have appropriate snacks in between your meals.
Focus on Hydration
As we age, our bodies may experience a decrease in saliva, thus affecting taste. You need to drink adequate amounts of water throughout the day. This can help counteract the negative impacts of salt and sugar in your body, and also prevent the salt cravings that happen with dehydration.
Get Creative with Recipes
Having a lower level of sugar and salt in your diet doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious food. Use your creativity to come up with amazing dishes that you will love. Make use of spices such as cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, or substitute sweet options with honey and fresh fruit.
Beware of Packaged Foods
Most of the sugar and salt we eat are found in packaged foods. Processed foods tend to be high in such ingredients. Even condiments like ketchup and soy sauce, or spreads like jam can contain a lot of salt and sugar. Check the labels on the containers or jars to see whether there is an excessive amount of sodium and added sugars. Swap out packaged foods for fresh ones when possible.
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