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Diet for the Elderly

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Nutrition is a vital component of man’s needs, along with exercise and rest. In order to live, man adapts the building blocks of nutrition as they come across the lifespan.

Nutrition for babies mostly involve soft foods and not the hard ones while usual diet for adolescents include oily and fatty foods. With the elderly population one of the vulnerable sub populations across various developmental stages, their diet should also be taken in consideration.

Healthy eating is advantageous for adults who are more than 50 years old. According to Help Guide, eating healthy enhances mental acuteness, promotes resistance to illness and disease, boosts energy levels, increases recovery time, and aids in the management off long term health problems. In addition, healthy eating also promotes a positive outlook, as well as emotional balance. As a person ages, the body, mind, and soul are being nourished with proper nutrition. In fact, healthy eating allows a person to live stronger and longer, have a sharpened mind, and feel better.

According to Milk, older people should also follow the key principles of a healthy balanced diet, just like the diet of younger adults. These foods include potatoes, bread, for carbohydrates. For protein, the elderly can also consume cheese, milk, and yogurt, along with beef, pork, lamb, chicken, lentils, fish, beans, and eggs. Fruits and vegetables sources include apples, oranges, bananas, peas, tomatoes, and carrots. Then, crisps, sweets, fizzy drinks, margarine, butter, biscuits, and cakes can be food sources for fat and small amounts of sugar.

While higher amounts of starch and lower amounts of fat and sugar are helpful to the elderly, a high-fiber and low-fat diet may be improper as their diet, particularly those who have repetitive infections, poor appetite, and generally poor health. Snacks can also be included in an elderly diet, especially those who are unable to deal with big meals at one sitting.

Omega 3 fatty acids and calcium are also vital part of the elderly nutrition. According to Aging Care, omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to decrease inflammation, which in known to lead to conditions like arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. Omega 3 fatty acids can be found in flax seeds and flax seed oil, canola, walnuts, eggs, peanut butter, salmon, and tuna, among others. These food sources should be taken at lease two times a week and supplementation is also possible; however, the latter should be in coordination with a physician.

On the other hand, calcium is a vital nutrient to the elderly, as it helps in the preservation of bone tissue, as well as the reduction of blood pressure. Due to these properties, calcium can help the population from the health threats caused by osteoporosis, arthritis, and hypertension. According to the World Health Organization, adults over the age of 50 should obtain at least 1200 milligrams of calcium per day. This is equal to approximately four cups of orange juice, milk, fortified non-dairy kind of milk like soy or almond. Absorbable calcium can also be obtained in leafy green vegetables like turnip greens and kale. One may check with his doctor if he should take a calcium supplement or not.

Weight management is essential to the health of the elderly. According to NIH Senior Health, consuming the right amount of calories for one’s level of physical activity will help control weight, since being overweight is an issue for older adults. Obesity and being overweight pose an increased risk for various medical conditions, such as joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and heart diseases.

Since the elderly population one of the vulnerable groups across the lifespan, promotion of health and prevention of illness can be achieved by proper nutrition, coupled with regular exercise and adequate sleep and rest.