Nutrition Guidelines For Older People

by Administrator 19. September 2012 05:18

As we age, the importance of eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet increases manifold. The benefits of following the recommended dietary guidelines for older people include stronger immunity, increased stamina, better management of disease, and increased energy levels. Apart from this, it also helps in the emotional well being of the elderly, keeping them positive and emotionally balanced.

An average meal for an elderly adult should consist of at least 300 calories, and should contain around 15g of protein, a rich whole-grain carbohydrate source, and a serving of vegetables. Ideally, the protein consumption in grams per day should be half the body weight in pounds.

It is also important to maintain a healthy calcium intake. Some of the richest sources of calcium are milk, yoghurt, cheese, tofu, almonds, etc. Also, getting enough Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium. Since the skin's ability to synthesize Vitamin D decreases with age, the elderly might need to supplement levels of this vitamin through fortified foods or multivitamins.

The levels of Vitamin B 12 also drop in the elderly, due to the decreased secretion of gastric acid in the stomach after the age of 50, which interferes in the absorption of this vitamin. Since this vitamin is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system, older people must ensure that they meet the recommended daily intake of vitamin B12, which is 2.4 mcg, through fortified foods or supplements.

The elderly need to consume at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables everyday.  Antioxidant-rich vegetables such as dark, green ones like kale, spinach, and broccoli and orange and yellow ones like carrots, squash, and yams are ideal for the elderly. Taking a cue from the Japanese and including 5 colors on the plate is a great idea for older people. Blackberries, melons, zucchini, and tomatoes are some great ideas to add to the food palette.

The elderly lose their ability to regulate fluid levels in their body, and also have a weakened sensation of thirst. It is thus important to ensure that they drink sufficient water throughout the day. Dehydration can lead to urinary tract infections, disorientation, and constipation, among other problems.

With weakened senses in the elderly, there is a tendency to add more salt and sugar too food, which might be harmful for the body, leading to problems like high blood pressure. Instead, older people should be advised to opt for natural seasonings like oregano, olive oil, garlic, herbs, pepper and other spices, honey, maple syrup, etc.

For more nutrition recommendations and dietary guidelines for older people , visit us at Corrective Chiropractic and Wellness, 560 E. Central Texas Expressway, Suite 102, Harker Heights, TX 76548 or call us at (254) 698-1600.

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