In old age, a balanced diet is as important as at any other stage of life.
Elderly people may be poorly nourished for several reasons. They may have difficulty chewing, or those living on their own do not bother to prepare meals. The appetite may fade as time blunts the senses of smell and taste.
Recent studies demonstrate that because older adults’ abilities to absorb and utilize many nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and zinc become less efficient, their nutrient requirements actually increase.
A Few Nutritional Tips for the elderly from our Nutritionist in Edinburgh.
- Use colorful foods and make easy, attractive meals.
- Choose foods supplying the right amount of dietary fibre in order to avoid constipation and other digestive problems.
- Add variety to the table and do not always eat the same foods or meals. Multiple studies show that higher dietary variety is associated with overall better nutritional status and better health outcomes in frail elderly people.
- Choose fatty fish, linseed, and walnuts. Epidemiological studies have found that higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids provide greater protection against many conditions, such as arrhythmia, cardiac death, recurrent myocardial infarction, diabetes, and cognitive decline.
- Take supplements only if strictly necessary. Negative consequences can occur when supplements are used as a substitute for food. Indeed most of the time nutrients in food and in supplements can compete with each other, reducing the overall absorption.
In a Nutshell the best way to ensure good dietary intake is by increasing intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, lean protein sources, low-fat dairy and decreasing intake of refined grains and highly processed foods. Moreover is essential to follow a higher dietary variety.