“Forty is the old age of youth; fifty the youth of old age.”
That is an interesting quote from Victor Hugo, a French author. While some people are afraid to get older and weaker as they turn fifty, it encourages people to stay optimistic and think positive. In fact, ageing will not really stop you from enjoying life, playing with your grandchildren, walking around the town, shopping needs, and meeting up with friends. Moreover, it would be best if you lived well, such as manage your dietary habit.
How to select the right diet will vary depending on each person’s condition and nutrient needs. Several individuals may be resistant or allergic to specific foods, while others are just fine. Therefore, the elderly should be more selective and wise in consuming daily food, while the body’s ability to process eaten food will slowly decrease.
In this post, you will find some useful information about diet for older people regarding:
- Quantity of food
- Quality of food
- Salt, sugar, and alcohol consumption
QUANTITY OF FOOD
The first idea is that you must recognise your daily portion serving. You should have the right amount of daily food supply to balance the calorie with your daily activities. Since your actions tend to be fewer and lighter in old age, avoiding overeat is crucial to stop the body stores excess calories as fat and leads to obesity problems. On the other way around, malnutrition also often happens when older people did not get enough nutrition in daily life. The estimated average requirements (EAR) for the elderly based on the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition Report 2011 as follows:
For the next step, you can calculate and arrange your menu based on each food calories content. Here are some examples of groceries with their calorie.
If you need to check the other food calories content, you can simply use the NHS calorie checker calculator.
QUALITY OF FOOD
Another factor that also crucial is your meal menu. To ensure the body gets enough nutrients, it should be consist of these four ingredients.
Fruit and vegetables
It is widely known that fruit and vegetables are essential for healthy lifestyles. World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended eating a minimum of 400g of fruit and vegetables a day to lower the risk of severe health problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer. It initiates a 5 A Day campaign that proposes a habit of 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. You can get one amount of fruit and vegetable from:
- 80g of fresh, canned, or frozen fruit and vegetables.
- 30g of dried fruit.
Starchy foods and fibre
Starchy foods can be the primary energy source since it has calcium, iron and B vitamins. Besides, it can also be your fibre supply by consuming whole grain varieties such as wheat, oats, barley, and brown rice. High fibre foods can help us to feel full longer and prevent indigestion, such as constipation. Potatoes also can good to be consumed. It contains less fibre but has high vitamin B. There are still many options of carb foods that can make your meal more diverse.
Milk and dairy foods
There are many essential nutrients that you could get from milk and dairy foods, such as calcium, vitamins A, D and B12, and protein. As you get older, calcium is needed to strengthen our bones with the help of vitamin D. To make a healthier diet, the elderly should choose low-fat milk or skimmed milk with lesser saturated fat than whole milk. However, you should be careful to select those who have less sugar ingredient.
It would be great if older people could consume at least two portions of fish every week. One of them should be oily, such as salmon or mackerel. Meat could also be a good source of protein, vitamin B12, and iron, but you should pick lean meat and reduce consuming processed meat with fewer nutrients, such as sausage, ham, and bacon. Beans and peas are excellent substitutes for beef because they have low fat but high fibre, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Another option of high protein and mineral food is eggs, but you should be careful with the yolks that contain more calories and fat than the whites. Vegan protein also could be an alternative.
SALT, SUGAR, AND ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
Besides being a sodium source for the body, salt could also raise blood pressure which is a primary risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Older people should be prudent to look for food ingredients in the label packaging to avoid high salt consumption. Adults should eat no more than 6g of salt per day and be cautious with high salt foods.
According to the NHS, most sugars most adults and children in the UK overeat are “free sugars.” They come from any sugars added to food or drinks, also sugars in honey, syrups, or nectars. Sugars found naturally in milk, fruit, and vegetables do not count as free sugars. Too much sugar could take the lead to weight gain, increase heart disease and diabetes risk. However, a sugar-free diet is not always to be a healthy one.
Alcohol could be another problem for the elderly which not as intensive as the younger ones. Consuming much amount of alcohol could lead to several health problems, both physical and mental health. You can also read more about alcohol that is often connected with weight loss here.
The elderly can get many benefits by doing a range of activities. Taking regular exercise will help to burn your calories, so they will not be accumulated and stored as fat. To maintain your fitness level, a lot of option is available, whether by performing outdoor or home exercises.
For further information, you can read more the guidance from NHS, how to eat well and exercise as you get older.