What are Fiber Rich Foods for the Elderly? (And Other Food Choices)

Two elderly people holding hands walking while wearing backpacks.

Fiber is found in many common foods, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. There are some foods that are particularly rich in fiber and are considered a great healthy boost to anyone’s diet. Incorporating these foods for elderly into your diet can lead to many health benefits—such as regular bowel movements and regulating sugar levels. But, more specifically, what are fiber rich foods for the elderly, so you know what to add to the grocery list?

What are Fiber Rich Foods?

Fiber-rich foods are foods that have over two grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is in many commonly found food items. When we consume fiber, it does not give our bodies energy like other foods do, but incorporating the daily recommended fiber amounts is important for overall health. 

The Basics of Fiber

Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate. Unlike other carbohydrates that break down into sugar, fiber does not and instead passes through the digestive system undigested. Fiber helps to maintain a healthy weight, and lowers the chances of developing diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.

Common Fiber-Rich Foods

Incorporating fiber rich foods into your diet at any age is a great way to keep your bowel movements regular and your gut healthy. Below are 12 foods rich in fiber that can be incorporated into your diet. Maybe some of them already are! 

  1. Whole wheat pasta
  2. Barley
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Edamame
  5. Lentils
  6. Split peas
  7. Berries
  8. Pears
  9. Artichoke 
  10.  Brussel sprouts
  11.  Chia seeds
  12.  Avocados 

It is important to note that if you are planning on increasing your fiber intake to do so slowly. Introducing too much fiber into your diet too quickly can lead to bloating, gas, and cramping

To avoid those potential risks, drink lots of fluids and try adding fiber into each meal, rather than all in one single sitting. Adding fiber to each meal will ensure that there will be no bloating, gas, or cramping after you eat. Eating too much fiber in one sitting could lead to some discomfort after you eat. Always be sure to consult with your doctor before making dietary changes to make sure that you are doing what is right for your body and your needs. 

How Much Fiber Is Needed for the Elderly? 

For people aged 50 or older, it’s recommended to eat slightly less fiber than those in a younger demographic. Additionally, men and women require a different amount of fiber. Most adults need between 21 and 38 grams of fiber per day. 

Age GroupMenWomen
31-5038 grams25 grams
51-70+30 grams21 grams 

Checking nutrition labels on prepackaged foods can help keep track of your fiber intake and see if you’re reaching a healthy amount of fiber each day. 

Why Should the Elderly Eat Fiber Rich Foods?

For the elderly, meeting daily fiber intake goals is crucial. As people get older, their digestive system slows making it more common to gain weight. Hitting those daily fiber requirements allows the digestive system to work efficiently and can improve overall gut health. 

Types of Fiber

There are two different forms of fiber, soluble and insoluble., Soluble means that it dissolves in water and insoluble does not. Depending on what your needs are, one may be the better choice for you.

What is Soluble Fiber?

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and creates a gel-like substance. Soluble fiber brings water into your stomach and helps to soften bowels. It also can help you feel fuller, reducing overeating. This type of fiber lowers blood sugar levels and can help to lower cholesterol. If you’re looking for these health benefits, you’ll want to add the following foods into your diet. 

  • Oats
  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Apples
  • Carrots

What is Insoluble Fiber?

Insoluble fiber absorbs water or other bodily fluids, increases movement within the bowel, and bulks up stool. Insoluble fiber is great for someone who struggles with constipation and bowel regularity. Foods that are higher in insoluble fiber are:

  • Whole grain pasta
  • Cucumbers 
  • Beans 
  • Nuts 
  • Seeds 
An elderly person cutting food.

What Are Other Foods for the Elderly? 

Fiber is not the only thing of nutritional importance that the elderly should consider incorporating into their diet. Protein is another important piece of a well-balanced diet. Protein is made up of amino acids and is found throughout the body in muscle, bones, hair, and skin.

The amount of protein someone needs is based on weight. Using our protein requirement calculator, we can see that an adult weighing 160 pounds needs to consume 58 to 73 grams of protein per day. Due to the way protein is calculated, everyone’s intake will differ. When you age, the body processes protein at a slower, less efficient rate. Because of this, the elderly need more protein than others. It’s recommended that people over the age of 65 should consume about 50 percent more protein than those under the age of 65. 

Common Protein-Rich Foods

Finding high protein foods for elderly people can help seniors meet the daily requirements of protein. Some great high-protein foods for the elderly include: 

  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Lean meats
    • Pork
    • Veal
    • Beef
  • Poultry
    • Chicken
    • Turkey 
  • Dairy products
    • Milk
    • Yogurt (opt for Greek Yogurt)
    • Cheese (opt for cottage cheese) 

How to Ensure Your Protein Intake

If you want to ensure that you or someone you know over the age of 65, perhaps one of your parents or grandparents, is consuming the right amount of protein for their age, weight, and gender, You can use our protein calculator. The calculator breaks down the amount of protein that’s needed to maintain weight, lose weight, and gain weight, which can be useful depending on your healthcare professional’s recommendations. 

This entry was posted in Health, Lifestyle and tagged , , . By Emily DiFabio