Nutrition for the elderly is one of the factors that cannot be ignored when you care for the elderly. If you know how to balance your diet, older people not only have good physical health but also maintain an optimistic spiritual life. The aging process leads to a decrease in the digestive, cardiovascular, urinary function, making the health and life of the elderly have many changes, especially in nutrition. Therefore, let’s you with Howtonc to learn about the nutritional needs of the elderly to choosing healthy meals!
Factors affecting nutrition for the elderly
Diet for the elderly is much different from children, adolescents, and adults. Age-related nutritional changes can affect the way your body absorbs food, dietary needs, and taste. Here are the factors that change the diet for the elderly you should know:
1. The metabolism slows down
As you get older, your body’s metabolism will slow down. In particular, if the elderly do not exercise and exercise, the decline in metabolism is even more pronounced. When metabolism slows down, the body does not burn as many calories, which also means that the elderly should reduce their diets to control their weight. At the same time, older people should eat nutritious foods with fewer calories.
The choice of nutrition for the elderly should depend on the ability to exercise every day to control a reasonable weight.
For those who regularly exercise, the average energy needs for women is 1,800 calories per day and is 2,300 calories per day for men. If you are a bit thinner, your energy needs will be a bit lower. If you are more physically active, you will need a little more energy.
2. The digestive system weakens
Older people often suffer from reduced muscle chewing, weak or fallen teeth, making chewing and crushing food less effective. The elderly’s stomach is weak, the tone and the contraction ability of gastric secretion are reduced as well as the intestinal motility is reduced. So, the elderly are prone to digestive disorders.
Older people also produce less fluid. Fluids are essential for the absorption of food from the digestive system. Therefore, these changes can make it difficult to absorb essential nutrients like folic acid, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
When making a nutrition menu for the elderly, you need to choose soft, comfortable to swallow, and easily digested foods to increase absorption and avoid constipation.
3. Decreased taste buds cause anorexia
The taste of older adults often declines. Also, older people often suffer from several medical conditions such as chronic illnesses, so they may need to take medicines to control their health. However, medications often have side effects that cause stomach discomfort or anorexia that can lead to nutrient deficiencies.
4. Psychological change erratic
Many older people often feel depressed or lonely and usually are not interested in eating. Conversely, some mood problems can sometimes cause some people to eat more and gain unwanted weight.
The factors that change due to age have a significant impact on the ability to eat for the elderly. Therefore, you need to have proper nutrition for the elderly to provide enough nutrients and promote health.
Develop nutrition for the elderly
A balanced, healthy diet with all the essential nutrients can help the elderly prevent common health problems such as constipation, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, excess cholesterol. … Healthy foods also help older people maintain a healthy weight and stay energetic.
The National Institute on Aging offers two nutritional options for the elderly: the USDA diet and the DASH diet.
• USDA diet: This is a balanced and healthy diet that you need to note the following:
– Eat whole grains.
– Moderate portion control.
– Half of the food is fruits and vegetables.
– Older adults should eat light, control the salt content in dishes such as soups, bread.
• DASH nutrition: This is a diet that focuses on all the essential food groups designed to help lower blood pressure and is suitable for the heart. Fresh foods each day include milk, vegetables, cooking oil, cereals, fruits, meat, beans, etc.
Besides choosing the nutrition for the elderly, you need to know how to select foods to add to achieve high efficiency.
Supplementary food for nutrition for the elderly
The elderly menu needs four main food groups (carbohydrates, protein, fats, fruits, and vegetables) and essential nutrients for the body. Diet for the elderly should supplement the following foods:
• Healthy fats: Older adults need to add foods rich in healthy fats like nuts, avocados, fatty fish, and vegetable oils, especially olive oil, to the diet for the elderly. Older people should minimize saturated and trans fats.
• Filtered water: Older people should actively add enough water to their bodies. Also, fruits and foods that are healthy and contain lots of water, such as soups, cucumbers, grapes, and watermelons, are very good for health.
• Whole grains: Whole grains are rich in fiber, nutrients that help support digestion, and are suitable for the heart. You should choose brown rice, whole grains, whole-grain pieces of bread to supplement the diet for the elderly.
• High-fiber foods: Older people need fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains every day. This helps prevent constipation, provides vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential nutrients for the body, maintains weight, and reduces the risk of heart disease.
• Protein: Older people need more protein from legumes, eggs, chicken, fish, and lean meat as well as nuts to provide energy for the body.
• Calcium, vitamin D: Calcium is an essential trace element that plays a vital role in helping the elderly have healthy and robust bones. Therefore, the diet for the elderly needs to supplement foods rich in calcium and vitamin D.
• Vitamin B12: The absorption of vitamin B12 by the elderly decreases, so the diet for the elderly needs to increase vitamin B12-rich foods such as whole grains. You can also take vitamin B12 supplements as prescribed by your doctor if needed.
Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements
Food is the best way to get nutrients you need. Should you takevitaminsor other pills or powders with herbs and minerals? These are calleddietary supplements. Your doctor will know if you need them. More may not be better. Some can interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.
The elderly need to have a proper diet, eat, and sleep in moderation and punctuality to ensure good health. You can flexibly prepare various dishes and tastes for the whole family to feel delicious!
Never give up. Your sense of life is to be happy, healthy, and enlightened.
Physical activity shouldn’t be a chore. It can help you feel better about yourself and the way you live your life. Choose activities that you enjoy and that fit your lifestyle.
Thank you for having taken the time to read our article. And if you have any questions you need, please feel free to comment under the comment section. We will answer you as soon as possible.