As we grow old, our bodies undergo substantial changes, both positive and negative. To reduce the negative impact of aging, we need to actively moderate our activities and food habits. Physical exercise is required to maintain good cardiovascular health and all-around development of our muscles and bones. Alongside exercise, a proper dietary regimen is essential. We need to ensure that our body receives the requisite amount of all the necessary nutrients. However, a healthy eating habit also includes cutting down on food that can adversely affect the body’s development such as food containing artificial sugar, or food that has high cholesterol levels. While drawing up a healthy diet chart for a senior, It is important to keep the following points in mind:
1) Our bone health deteriorates with age due to the loss of bone density. This makes the bones susceptible to breakage and disease such as osteoporosis. Calcium is one of the primary nutrients that is required to slow down the loss of bone mass and density in elderly people.
2) As we age, the deposition of fats in our circulatory system makes us prone to heart attacks, coronary diseases, and other cardiovascular conditions. A combination of physical exercise and a healthy diet is essential to ensure good heart health in old age.
3) Our digestive system loses its contractility with age, and they no longer function as efficiently as it did when we were younger. Elderly people may require an increase in the amount of fiber and water intake, to ensure proper absorption of the food and a healthy bowel movement.
The primary nutrition needs for elderly people include a number of essential nutrients as listed below.
Vitamin D and calcium:
Low-fat dairy products are a good source of calcium. The dietary routine of people with advanced age should include three servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy products every day. Fruits, leafy vegetables, poultry, fish, fortified cereals also contain calcium. Poultry products, eggs, fishes such as salmon are also a good source of vitamin D.
This vitamin provides resistance against megaloblastic anemia, a condition characterized by weakness and fatigue. People with old age can’t absorb sufficient amounts of B12. Therefore increasing the consumption of foods that are rich in B12, like seafood, lean meat, fortified cereals, is a good way to ensure that your body doesn’t have a deficiency of vitamin B12.
Dietary fibers not only prevent constipation by ensuring healthy bowel movements, but also alleviate heart health. Fibers also lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. Whole-grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables are good sources of dietary fiber.
It is an essential salt because it helps maintain healthy heart conditions and muscular functionality. Cut down on salt (sodium) intake to prevent high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products are sources of potassium.
With age, we need to cut down on trans-fat or saturated fats which increases cholesterol levels and affects the body negatively. People with advanced age must replace these unhealthy fats with unsaturated fats (monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats). Nuts such as almonds, vegetable oil, avocados are foods that are rich in unsaturated fats. Healthy fats in a regular diet are crucial for good heart health.
A balanced diet is a preventive measure against several chronic disorders. Additionally, the dietary routine should be planned considering the metabolic conditions corresponding with a particular age group. These are few reasons why a dedicated dietary plan is important for elderly people.
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