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Senior citizens must take care of their nutrition

09 July, 2020 Vidyashree
Growing old is a worry of thought as many complication accompanies along. Be it forgetting things, feeling incapable, grappling with loneliness and more. The body needs changes as one age and so, senior adults will require different nutritional diet to be followed. As, age- related changes can affect how the body processes food, that influences the dietary needs and affects the appetite.

In the verge of change

Some changes that is experienced or observed in the senior adults are-
·Metabolism slows down
·Digestive system changes
·Appetite can change
·Emotional health can be affected like depression
·Memory loss
Other challenges that hinder proper nutrition include-
·Decreased sensitivity as the senses become numbed down
·Medication side effects
·Poor dental health
·Physical disability

Eating as a senior adult

Balanced meal- The elderly nutrition program should constitute carbohydrate- rich foods like sweet potatoes and brown rice, protein- rich foods like salmon and beans and fruits and vegetables, preferably five portions a day.
Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids- these are very important for aged people as it help to prevent inflammation that may cause cancer, rheumatoid, arthritis and heart disease.
Calcium rich food - Certain survey shows that as one grows older, consumption of calcium becomes less. Calcium is very important to body that, in case lack of it, body will start absorbing calcium from the bones. This will lead to fragile bones and brittle leading to osteoporosis. So, consume calcium rich foods like leafy green vegetables, cereals fortified with calcium and dairy products such as milk, yogurt or cheese. Orelse one can take supplements as directed by the healthcare provider and avail those from 3MEDS, the best medicine store online in India.
Fiber rich food- Food rich in fiber will promote digestion by, moving food through the digestive tract. These foods may help to reduce the risk of heart disease Food rich in fiber are nuts, wholegrain cereal, wholegrain bread, brown rice, brown bread, fruits and vegetables.
Iron rich food- Iron helps the body to produce haemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. So, lack of it will pose a problem. Therefore, elderly aged individuals must consume sufficient food, rich in iron. Men and non- menstruating women should aim to get about 8mg of iron per day. Food rich in iron are red meat, organ meat, clams, oysters, beans, lentils and cooked dark leafy greens.
Vitamin rich food- Vitamin C has antioxidant properties that prevent cancer and heart disease, along with repair of bones, teeth and healing of wounds. This essential nutrient is present in fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D aids in the maintenance of bone density, preventing osteoporosis. It may also protect against chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, cancer and rheumatoid osteoporosis. Some foods like egg and certain fish have vitamin D naturally.
Vitamin A absorption increases with a age, that has to be avoided in supplement form. Adults should get about 2,000- 2,500 IU vitamin A per day, from retinol rich food like liver, dairy products and fish.
Vitamin B12 maintains nerve function, production of red blood cells and DNA. It is found in milk, meat and poultry products.
As one ages absorbing the vitamin from food becomes more laborious. Supplements are available that can be bought from 3MEDS, the best medical shop online India, under doctor’s approval.
Potassium rich food- Potassium aids in cell function in reducing blood pressure and lowering the chances of kidney stones. It is found in fruits and vegetables like bananas, prunes and potatoes.
Magnesium rich food- Magnesium plays many physiological functions like keeping the heart healthy and immune system and bones strong. It is found in whole grains, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables.
Zinc rich food- Deficiency in zinc is common among the elderly adults and can supress appetite and blunt sense of taste. Food sources of zinc include oysters, mussels, meat, pumpkin seeds, beans, peas and lentils.
Protein rich food- Senior adults must intake at least 1- 1.2 grams of proteins per kilogram of body weight per day. Seniors with health complications should have 1.2- 1.5 grams of proteins per kilogram of body weight per day. Choose proteins that are soft and easy to digest, like stewed meats or poultry, soft cooked fish, well-cooked legumes, scrambled eggs and protein powder.
Water- Dehydration risk is higher in aged adults, may be due to side effects from medications or reduced sense of thirst. So, older adults should consume 2- 3 litres of liquid per day. It can be taken in the form of water, herbal teas, broths or liquid based foods like smoothies or soups.

Ending note

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), older persons are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition. Since, with age, an older individual’s energy requirement per kilogram of body weight is also reduced. The nutritional needs of the senior adults are very important that can be addressed with certain dietary changes.