Nutrition is one of the most important factors for good health. Depending on your age, gender, physical condition, and medical history, nutrition requirements are different for all people. In terms of the elderly, we need to take a more careful and critical approach.
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People well into the ages of 60 and above must carefully monitor what they consume and how much they take. By the age of 60, your body and health will be at a stage where it is naturally declining. By observing your nutritional intake, you can maintain and preserve good health well into their 70’s and 80’s.
Even if you don’t feel or look old, your body is declining in the inside and slowly, gradually, eventually your body will begin to react, and you will notice it. Diseases, health complications, and illnesses are common in ageing adults:
- High blood pressure
- Weak teeth
- Sore Joints
- Heart disease,
- Type 2 diabetes
- Certain cancers
With improved diet, optimal levels of physical activity, these health complications can be prevented, slowed down, or healed. Here are some nutrition tips for elderly that you can implement to your own health or an older adult you care for.
1. Cut down the salt
Salt is an essential part of the diet. But too much of it can be very costly. An increase of sodium intake in the body can lead to heart disease, failing lungs as well as high blood pressure. These are all complications that are susceptible to older people.
Salt is commonly found in processed foods and snacks. It is important to limit these for elderly. To get sufficient sodium intake for a healthy diet, try to stick with natural sources such as meat, eggs, vegetables, and milk. Avoid table salts or added flavours.
2. Drink more water
Hydration is vital in all diets, no matter what age you are or what stage of life you’re now. Particularly in elderly citizens, water is essential as they will replenish and maintain the functioning of the immune system, lungs, organs, heart, digestive system, and blood volume, to name a few. It’s important to drink water or drinks with plenty of electrolytes. Try to avoid fluids with extra sugars.
3. Convenient meal preparation
Most older people, especially those above 70, will know that preparing food or putting a meal together is no easy task. Having to take the time to prepare, cook and assemble foods can be quite a physical task. This may lead to discouraging some from eating altogether and can result in malnutrition. In this case, try to buy foods that are prepackaged, easy to prepare and are healthy and nutritious. Canned foods and meals are great options.
4. Limit saturated and trans fats
It is crucial to be able to distinguish healthy and unhealthy fats. And saturated and trans fats are the ones to avoid, especially for older adults. Highly processed prepackaged foods such as chips, pastries, flavoured snacks, and artificial flavours usually have a high count of trans and saturated fats.
These types of foods should be avoided or limited. These fats are known to spike blood pressure, increase body weight, and cause health diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. Try sticking with healthy fats that you can find from fresh meats, organic greens or fish.
5. Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the elderly and should be consumed daily. Whether from natural food sources or in pill form, it is important to get vitamin D and C in particular. These vitamins can help to improve medical conditions such as high blood pressure, osteoporosis or mental health conditions.
Vitamins also help to boost the immune system. Something that naturally declines due to ageing. Vitamin D and C play an important role in improving the digestive system as well as helping the body avoid malnutrition.
Though dieting is required full attention, a healthy lifestyle would be incomplete without regular exercise. With a balance of this and proper nutrition, no matter what age you are, your health will give you an extra edge, so you don’t even feel like you’re ageing.
If you have a particular health condition or complication, or the above points in terms of nutrition aren’t really cutting it for you, speak with your medical practitioner or professional dietician. Especially it is important to get regular advice from a professional about nutrition for elderly. That is the best way of determining what diet is best specifically for you.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner or professional dietician to talk about nutrition need for your own or loved ones.
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