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A New Food Pyramid for Seniors

Por Andrea Yonker, Nutrition Couselor, MyDiet™ Team -
A New Food Pyramid for Seniors

After almost 10 years, in December 2007, Tufts University in Boston developed and updated the Food Pyramid for senior adults. Modifications were made to facilitate its use and understanding, as well as to emphasize the importance of certain nutrients for people above 70 years of age.

If you have your grandparents near, or if you are a grandparent yourself, it is very important that you consider the new recommendations of the Food Pyramid. Let’s find out more about them:

  • Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. A flag at the top of the pyramid reminds senior adults that they may need to take supplements of calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 in addition to what they get from food. This is important since the daily requirement of these nutrients increases as people age.
  • Whole grains and fortified cereals.Replace white rice with brown rice and choose whole wheat bread.
  • Multi-colored fruits and vegetables.Something new in this version of the Food Pyramid is that it includes the option of pre-packed, frozen, canned, and dried fruits and vegetables, which are easily prepared and last longer in your pantry. These options become especially important if you have arthritis or when the weather forecast is not good to go to the supermarket.  Try to select fruits and vegetables of different colors to get all vitamins and minerals. Carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes are good examples. Eat varied fruits, like strawberries and cantaloupes.
  •   Low-fat or fat-free dairy products.Like yogurt and lactose-free milk.
  • Legumes, nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat, and eggs.
  • Vegetable oils or nonstick sprays. Make sure they are low in saturated fats and free of trans fat.
  • Liquids, liquids, and more liquids. The updated pyramid emphasizes the importance of an adequate intake of liquids and recommends 8 daily glasses. As people age, the sensation of thirst decreases, and this can be especially hazardous during the summer.
  • Physical activity. At the base of the pyramid are graphics showing different physical activities that can be performed on a daily basis by most senior adults. Some examples are: walking, swimming, and yard work.

Don’t leave exercise aside! Regular exercise decreases the risk of developing chronic diseases and promotes weight loss. Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, states that according to U.S. Government statistics, “obesity among people 70 years and older has increased, and physical activity is a good way of avoiding weight gain.” 

Take a look at the new pyramid  here.  

Source:   “Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults.” Tufts University, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.  20 Dec. 2007.


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