Nutrition For Elderly People: How It Helps Them To Age Well

You may be aware of the fact that Japanese people has the highest life expectancy in the world.  Do you know, what are their diet secrets? They consume lots of grains, vegetables, soy, and fish, but less poultry, meat, and dairy. Yes, studies showed that people who follow a vegetarian diet with healthy menus and prudent lifestyle can increase life expectancy.

By the time you’re getting older, the energy needs of your body starts dropping gradually and your requirement of certain nutrients get increase. As aging is inevitable, many middle-age degenerative processes can be checked to some extent if preventive measures are taken in time. Medical research confirms that optimum nutrition for elderly people can at least check or slow down the process of deteriorating conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular, and Alzheimer’s diseases. One report estimates that one-third to one-half of age-old health problems of people over the age of 65 are because of diet.

Proper nutrition for elderly people is a very vital component of optimum management of any aging-well strategy. And because of so many reasons, a person’s appetite, the senses of taste, and smell decline with age. Elderly people find certain food less appealing and many of them even experience difficulty chewing. Additionally heartburn, constipation, lactose intolerance, and other digestive problems get aggravated with age and contribute to poor nutrition. Absorption of nutrients get worsens with age as stomach acid declines.

Many elderly people are compel to go with ready-to-get food substitutes such as sweets, fast foods, canned soups, toast, and other easily available foodies that rarely provide proper nutrition for elderly people. They may face some sort of difficulty in shopping or preparing meals in absence of their spouse or a helping hand. Many older people living on fixed income cannot afford to buy nutritious fresh fruits, vegetables, fish and meat.

Gradual Changing Needs: With aging, a person’s body composition undergoes many changes. Because metabolism slows down, fewer calories are required. Experts estimate that an average person should consume 10 percent fewer calories for every 10 years after the age of 50. If a 50 year old moderately active person needs 2400 calories a day, the same person will require nearly 2160 calories at age 70, and even fewer if he is a sedentary. If people are liberal on their food intake, they’re like to gain weight increasing the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

As you grow, our body is subject to diminishing efficiency of absorbing nutrients with changing nutritional needs. An older person is likely to need extra amount of these nutrients: 1.Calcium to check osteoporosis and maintain healthy physic; 2.Vitamin D that helps absorbing calcium in the body; 3.Vitamin B12 for building red blood cells and maintaining healthy nerves; 4.Potassium for checking hypertension and urinary conditions; 5.Zinc for help compensating lowered immunity because of aging; 6.Folic acid, a Vitamin B responsible to produce red blood cells help lower the risk of heart disease; 7. Fiber to check constipation.

Need of Nutritional Supplements: Study in the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends that older people may encounter the risk of vitamin deficiency even they eat well. Doctors recommend an optimum daily dose of vitamin and mineral in the form of old age food supplement to make it 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDAs). But the multivitamin and multi-mineral supplement alone cannot be an appropriate substitute because natural dietary foods contain rich source of fiber, plant chemicals, and essential fatty acids. Moreover, a high dose of dietary supplements need to be avoided anyway unless suggested by a physician or dietitian as this may lead to nutritional imbalances. For example, zinc supplements can interfere with folic acid and likewise iron can hinder proper calcium and zinc absorption.