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How to Eat Right as a Senior

        Health | Diet & Aging

Meeting Carbohydrate Requirements for Seniors

Carbohydrates are your best source for instant energy, vitamins, and fiber -- if you choose whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Carbohydrates should make up 55 to 60 percent of your day's calories, or at least 130 grams. Most of that should come from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

There's little room in a healthful diet for sugar and other refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, when you're trying to get the most nutrients you can for the fewest calories. Make sure you keep tabs on the "extras" that traditionally go hand-in-hand with carbohydrates, such as margarine, cream cheese, cheese, and cream sauces.

These high-calorie, high-fat add-ons can turn even healthful carbohydrate foods into dietary disasters. Carbohydrates, by themselves, provide four calories per gram.

Here is a list of healthy high-carbohydrate foods:

  • Bran cereals
  • Brown rice
  • Canned or dried beans and peas
  • Dried fruit
  • Lentils
  • Popcorn
  • Shredded wheat
  • Whole-grain breads and cereals
  • Whole-wheat pastas


Fiber, a form of carbohydrate, helps prevent constipation and maintain a healthy balance of "good" bacteria in your intestinal tract. There are two types of fiber, each with its particular benefits. Soluble fiber forms a gel in the intestinal tract that carries unwanted cholesterol out of the body. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels.

Insoluble fiber is known for its ability to help prevent and treat constipation. Over age 50, men should get 35 grams of fiber a day, and women should get 21 grams

Here is a list of foods high in soluable fiber:

  • Bran cereals
  • Brown rice
  • Corn
  • Popcorn
  • Whole-grain breads and pastas
  • Seeking Soluble Fiber
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Barley
  • Carrots
  • Dried beans and peas
  • Figs
  • Oatmeal and oat bran
  • Okra
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Psyllium
  • Strawberries

In the next section, find out what you can do to ensure that you meet your vitamin requirements each day.