Nutrition for the Elderly
Nutrition for the Elderly
Geriatric nutrition applies nutrition principles to delay effects of aging and disease, to aid in the management of the physical, psychological, and psychosocial changes commonly associated with growing old.
The cornerstone of geriatric nutrition is a well-balanced diet. This provides optimal nutrition to help delay the leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, and stroke. In addition, ongoing research indicates that good, consuming antioxidants may increase longevity.
Nutrition Complications Associated With Old Age
Oral and dental complications
Dehydration in the elderly
Importance of healthy eating at old age
- Live longer and stronger - Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong for the long haul. Eating vitamin-rich food boosts immunity and fights illness-causing toxins. A proper diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, cancer, and anemia. Also, eating sensibly means consuming fewer calories and more nutrient dense foods, keeping weight in check.
- Sharpen the mind - Scientists know that key nutrients are essential for the brain to do its job. Research shows that people who eat a selection of brightly colored fruit, leafy veggies, certain fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus and decrease the risk for Alzheimer's disease.
- Feel better - Eating well is a feast for your five senses! Wholesome meals give you more energy and help you look better, resulting in a self-esteem boost. It's all connected - when your body feels good you feel happier inside and out.
What your body needs
- Reduce sodium (salt) to help prevent water retention and high blood pressure. Look for the "low sodium" labels and season meals with a little salt.
- Enjoy good fats. Reap the rewards of olive oil, avocados, salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, and other monounsaturated fats. Research shows that the fat from these delicious sources protects your body against heart disease by controlling "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and raising "good" HDL cholesterol levels.
- Fiber up. Avoid constipation, lower the risk of chronic diseases, and feel fuller longer by increasing fiber intake. Your go-to fiber-foods are raw fruits and veggies, whole-grains, and beans.
- Minimize "bad" carbohydrates. Bad carbohydrates - also known as simple or unhealthy carbohydrates - are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Bad carbohydrates digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and short-lived energy. For long-lasting energy and stable insulin levels, choose "good" or complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
- Look for hidden sugar. Added sugar can be hidden in foods such as bread, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, and ketchup. Check food labels for alternate terms for sugar such as corn syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, cane juice, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, or maltose. Opt for fresh or frozen vegetables instead of canned goods, and choose low-carbohydrates or sugar-free versions of products such as tortillas, bread, pasta, and ice cream.
- Cook smart. The best way to prepare veggies is by steaming or sauteing - it preserves nutrients. Boiling may drain essential nutrients.
Information Source Links
- Ministry of Medical Services, GOK. Kenya National Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics Reference Manual. Nairobi, Kenya: Ministry of Medical Services Republic of Kenya; (2010).
- Patrick Holford; Improve your digestion; The drug free guide to achieving you're a healthy digestive system;
- Sharon R, Kathryn P, Ellie W. Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition.8th edition.USA: Yolanda cossio; (2008)
- www.helpguide.org, May 2012