Eating Problem #2: Dry Mouth
A dry mouth is another common problem that many of us face as we age. Medications are often the cause of dry mouth, although it can occur for other reasons as well. A dry mouth can contribute to chewing problems, and can also make swallowing difficult. Foods that are dry, such as bread, pasta, crackers, and rice may be the most difficult to eat.
“The solution for eating when you have dry mouth is to find ways to add moisture to food,” says Palmer.
- Try adding gravy or sauce to foods such as rice or pasta or spread a little cream cheese or peanut butter on bread or crackers, Palmer says. Foods that are more naturally moist, such as soups and casseroles are also good options for people with a dry mouth.
"I'd make a minestrone soup, and then blend it and freeze it with some lemon juice and ice cubes for my mom," Koste says. "She would let it defrost and drink it cool – like a gazpacho in the winter." It's loaded with vegetables and a good option for people with dry mouth or trouble chewing, Koste says.
- Drinking water, milk, or juice between bites is another way to help keep your mouth moist. But if your appetite isn’t what it once was, take small sips to be sure the liquid doesn’t fill you up instead of the food.
And, if you do have dry mouth, it’s important to pay extra attention to your teeth. “Saliva helps protect against cavities, so if you have less saliva, you’re at higher risk for dental problems,” says Palmer. She suggests brushing or rinsing after each meal or snack to help keep teeth healthy.
Eating Problem #3: Frequent Upset Stomach
As we age, we may have a harder time digesting certain foods -- and have more problems with indigestion.
“Often, the best way to deal with indigestion is to keep a food diary, so you can find out what foods are giving you problems,” says Zelman.
Some of the most common culprits include:
- Strong-flavored vegetables, such as onions and peppers
- Spices such as garlic, chilies, and ginger
- Fried and fatty foods
- Caffeine in coffee