Nutrition of the elderly

Changes in aging

exercising older people

Loss of senses

The senses of taste, smell, sight, hearing, and touch are reduced individually. Loss of sense of taste and smell is common in older people. The causes can be the normal aging process and various diseases, the use of drugs, surgery, radioactive therapy. Some people feel these changes earlier and some later. The senses feel sweet and salty age rather than the senses of sour and bitter. That is why many types of food have a bitter taste, so the elderly often resort to salt or sugar. The change in taste and smell begins around 60 and becomes much more serious in people older than 70 years. Loss of sense of taste and smell reduces the pleasure of consuming food and can also be the cause of poisoning by various chemicals that would otherwise be detected by taste and smell. But more importantly, loss of taste can cause loss of appetite in the elderly, leading to weight loss, malnutrition, weakened immunity, and even death.

As you age, the whole structure of the eye changes. The pupil responds less to darker or lighter lighting. The lenses become yellow, less flexible, and a little hazy. The eye muscle becomes less able to rotate the eye completely.

Hearing loss

Hearing loss is the most common condition that affects the elderly. There is progressive hearing loss with age, initially with high-frequency sounds like speech. It has not been determined whether a specific cause such as noise trauma leads to hearing loss, but it seems that there are genetic predispositions. Hearing loss is more pronounced in older men than in women.

Tooth loss

As teeth age, they become darker and more brittle, making them easier to crack. This leads to tooth loss and/or diseases of the oral cavity. It is a common occurrence in the elderly. So most people up to 65. years lose all teeth and mostly have bad replacement teeth. Many problems arise, such as bruised gums, fistulas, etc. Older people who wear artificial teeth chew 75 to 85 percent less effective than people with their teeth, leading to reduced consumption of meat, fresh fruits, and vegetables. And this results in inadequate intake of energy, iron, vitamins. You can solve this problem with quality replacement teeth, which adhere well to the gums and allow regular chewing of all food.

Untreated caries and periodontitis are also a cause of tooth loss in the elderly leading to wearing artificial teeth.

Skin, hair and nail changes

Skin change is one of the most common visible signs of aging. Evidence of aging are both wrinkles and “hanging” of the skin. Gray hair is another obvious sign of aging. Skin change is linked to several factors, genetics, diet, and other factors. The biggest factor, though, is sun exposure. The skin becomes thinner, paler, and transparent. Changes in connective tissues reduce the firmness and elasticity of the skin. Numerous pigmented spots (called age spots or liver spots) can appear on parts of the skin exposed to the sun.

Grey hair usually begins on the temples and extends to the head’s top. The hair becomes progressively lighter, eventually becoming white. Many people have a gray head until their fortieth birthday. Gray hair is genetically determined.

About a quarter of men show signs of baldness by their thirties, and about two-thirds have significant baldness by age 60. Men have a typical form of baldness associated with the male hormone testosterone. Hair is lost on the temples or at the top of the head. Women also have a typical form of hair loss at that age. Their hair becomes sparse all over the scalp, and the scalp can become visible. Some women may notice hair loss all over their body but may find that they have harder hair on their face, especially on the top of their chin and around their lips. Men may find that the hair on their eyebrows, ears, and nose becomes longer and harder.

Nails also change with age. They grow weaker and can become dull and fragile. They may become yellow and opaque. Toenails become hard and strong. Ingrown toenails are common. However, some changes in the nails can cause infections, nutrient deficiencies, trauma, or other problems.

Immune system

As we age, our immune function decreases, resulting in a decrease in our ability to fight infections, which leads to an increase in infections in the elderly. Decreased immunity may explain the increased incidence of malignancies in that population.

Breathing

Older people find it harder to inhale and exhale air because as they age, the lungs’ absorption surface and elasticity decrease. And all this is reflected in other parts of the body. Therefore, the elderly should practice proper breathing as much as possible and stay in the fresh air.

Changes in the digestive system

colon cancer

Problems arise already with food intake. Dry mouth is a common problem in the elderly that makes it difficult not only to swallow but also to speak. It affects more than 70% of people and can significantly affect food intake. People have trouble chewing and swallowing food, and as a result, they avoid certain foods. Esophageal motility decreases.

Decreased excretion is common in people over 60 years of age stomach acid, atrophy of the gastric mucosa. As a result, the utilization of vitamin B12, folate, calcium, and iron is reduced. Bile also reacts less and less to the hormone cholecystokinin with age, and the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas decreases. All this affects the digestion of fats and proteins. As you age, the liver’s activity and the flow of blood through it decreases. This is also due to the enhanced effect of certain medications. Kidney efficiency also decreases with age—chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure damage the kidneys.

The food pyramid

budwig-diet

In this way, it ensures the correct ratio of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

The pyramid was founded by the United States Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services in 1992. years. 1999. USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, Tufts University, Boston modified the existing proper nutrition pyramid for people over 70 because the elderly have specific nutritional needs. The generally accepted model cannot be applied to them. The foods in this pyramid of proper nutrition for the elderly are divided into 5 groups on 3 levels. Adequate fluid intake is of great importance for the elderly population, so the pyramid base for the elderly is fluid. Eight glasses of water a day is recommended.

Older people should consume six or more servings of bread, cereals, rice, or pasta rich in dietary fiber. Five or more meals of colorful and varied fruits and vegetables are also recommended daily. Of the foods rich in protein, three or more meals a day should be from the milk and dairy products, and two or more meals from the group of meat, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts. At the top of the pyramid are fats, oils, and simple sugars, and the elderly should consume them as little as possible. At the top of the pyramid is a flag that gives supplementation guidelines. It is recommended to take calcium supplements, vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamins B6 and B12, folate, and vitamin C, which are of great importance for the health of the elderly. However, not all older adults need these dietary supplements to consult a doctor before taking these supplements.

Fluid intake

Regular daily fluid intake is essential for the elderly. In the elderly, the feeling of thirst is weakened, and kidney function is reduced. Therefore, the pyramid’s base consists of eight glasses of water a day to prevent constipation and dehydration, a common problem in the elderly. Dehydration is the most common cause of water loss in the elderly.

When choosing a drink and the amount of fluid ingested, the quality of the drink is also important because the body loses many electrolytes and minerals along with water. For the elderly, the best choice is tap water, spring and mineral water, with or without carbon dioxide, and natural fruit juices, without sugar, diluted with plain or non-carbonated mineral water.

These drinks best achieve fluid balance in the body. Coffee and tea are not considered the best choice because they contain caffeine, which stimulates the body’s excretion of the fluid. These are more drinks to enjoy. Alcohol should be avoided by the elderly, tough alcohol because it causes several disorders. It is often a direct cause of malnutrition, reduces appetite, and impairs normal digestion and absorption. People who consume alcohol for a long time suffer from gastritis, gallstones, acute and chronic pancreatitis, arterial hypertension, and other disorders. If an older adult decides to drink alcohol, red wine is considered the best moderation choice.

Red wine contains a lower proportion of alcohol and is rich in polyphenols, especially resveratrol, a group of organic compounds that are antioxidants by their mode of action. Consumption of this wine reduces cancer’s possibility and has a beneficial effect on increasing the so-called. positive cholesterol (HDL), and at the same time, contributes to reducing dangerous (LDL) cholesterol, the cause of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, in small quantities reduces the possibility of stone formation, but in large quantities interferes with calcium absorption. The recommendation for women is 1 dl of wine per day and men 2 dl of wine per day. If an older adult suffers from a chronic illness before consuming alcohol due to possible health problems, it is best to consult a doctor.

Nutritional needs

Knowledge of nutritional recommendations for the elderly is growing, but it is still insufficiently researched and documented.

The recommended daily intake (RDA – 1989. Recommended Dietary Allowances) did not provide separate recommendations for the elderly from 51. years due to insufficient data. Research has shown that older people have special needs for various nutrients due to the impact of aging on nutrient absorption, utilization, and excretion. The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) replaces the previous RDA. He, unlike 1989. The RDA divides the elderly population, older than 50 years, into 2 life periods, i.e., groups: 51 to 70 years of age and older than 70 years.

Physiological and functional changes that occur during the aging process result in nutritional changes in the elderly. Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to certain nutrients so that certain foods’ intake would not be problematic. Knowledge of nutritional recommendations for the elderly is growing, but it is still insufficiently researched and documented.

The recommended daily intake (RDA – 1989. Recommended Dietary Allowances) did not provide separate recommendations for the elderly from 51. years due to insufficient data. Research has shown that older people have special needs for various nutrients due to the impact of aging on nutrient absorption, utilization, and excretion. The Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) replaces the previous RDA. He, unlike 1989. The RDA divides the elderly population, older than 50 years, into 2 life periods, i.e., groups: 51 to 70 years of age and older than 70 years.

Energy

Energy needs decrease with aging due to reduced basal metabolism and reduced energy consumption as people move less and less as they age. For men over the age of 75, energy needs range from 1,800 kcal to 2,300 kcal per day, and for women, from 1,500 kcal to 2,200 kcal per day.

Proteins

In older people, protein intake should be higher than for people under 50. An intake of 1 g to 1.25 g per kilogram of body weight is recommended. Insufficient protein intake is caused by changes in the digestive system, lactose intolerance, infections, chewing and swallowing food, poor appetite. Financial problems are also common because meat is often more expensive than other foods, so older people cannot afford it. Consequences of insufficient protein intake are osteoporosis, decreased muscle mass, weakened immunity, and poor wound healing.

Fats

Fats are a great energy source for the body, helping to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and other nutritional components. Fat absorption and fat digestion do not change with age. Older people are advised that less than 30% of their daily energy intake comes from fat. The emphasis is on reduced intake of saturated fats and cholesterol and the choice of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Saturated and trans fatty acids should be present in a proportion of less than 10% of daily energy intake and cholesterol in a proportion of less than 300 mg per day. Saturated fatty acids should be avoided by the elderly because they increase blood cholesterol levels, while polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fatty acids lower blood cholesterol levels. Therefore, the proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids should be about 6-10% of the daily energy intake, and the proportion of monounsaturated fatty acids 10-14% of the daily energy intake.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates (sugars, starch) are energy sources for all cells in the body. Older people are recommended that 50 to 60% of their daily energy intake come from carbohydrates. The emphasis is on the intake of complex carbohydrates, including dietary fiber, and the controlled intake of simple sugars. In the elderly, dietary fiber is important to prevent constipation and high blood cholesterol levels. Reduce the risk of small and large bowel cancer; dietary fiber’s recommended daily intake should be 20-35 g / day. The proportion of simple sugars such as sugar in coffee, tea, drinks, cakes, sweets should not exceed 10% of the whole day’s energy intake.

 

Recommended groceries

Whole grains

Cereals and cereal products

Older people are advised to include wholemeal bread, corn and oatmeal, whole grains, pasta, wholemeal flour, biscuits, and wholemeal cakes in their daily diet. You should avoid baked products made of leavened and puff pastry such as donuts, croissants, strudels. In addition to dietary fiber, cereals are rich in B-complex vitamins and vitamin E. They are a source of phytochemicals that have a beneficial effect on the body. Therefore, the elderly are recommended to consume some of the cereal products with each meal. The advantage of such a meal is that the energy in such a meal is slowly released in the body and does not cause stress and drowsiness after consumption. The feeling of satiety is longer, so they are especially recommended for the elderly who have to reduce diet.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are a source of many important vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber. Fruits and vegetables have a positive effect on the health of the elderly. They contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. They contain essential vitamins A, C, E, folic acid, and minerals such as zinc, calcium which are important in preventing many diseases. Fruits and vegetables also contain pigments that give them color. Still, they are also important because they have a role in protection against free radicals and thus premature aging and the appearance of atherosclerosis. By technological processes of processing or cooking, these foods lose many of their ingredients, so it is best to consume them fresh or steamed. However, as we age, these foods are consumed less and less in a fresh, raw state because most older people have chewing problems. Therefore, it is recommended that they consume these foods in the form of porridge.

Milk and milk products

Milk and dairy products are rich in calcium, vitamins B2 and B12 and if enriched they also contain vitamins D and A. Older people are advised to avoid whole cheeses and cheese spreads, whole milk, cream, ice cream and whole milk based puddings. It is best to choose products with less saturated fat. Probiotics and prebiotics should be included in the daily diet. They contribute to better digestion, strengthen immunity and reduce the risk of some cancers.

Meat, eggs, fish, legumes, nuts

Foods from this group are rich in high-value proteins, minerals, and vitamins, but they also contain a high proportion of saturated fats and cholesterol. Therefore, the elderly are advised to reduce their consumption of these foods. You should consume meat and meat products 1 to 3 times a week. Health problems arise when meat is consumed in excessive quantities, fried and fried in oil and its own fat. The best choices are turkey white meat, chicken white meat, veal, young beef, fish, stewed, cooked, and baked in foil without added fat. Eating fish is especially recommended for the elderly because fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help prevent cardiovascular disease. It is recommended to consume fish two to three times a week. The egg is not recommended to be consumed more than three to four times a week because egg yolks are a concentrated cholesterol source.

Legumes’ advantage is that they have low energy values, are rich in dietary fiber and phytochemicals, and do not contain cholesterol. Dietary fiber legumes lower blood cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the elderly are recommended to increase their daily diet share. Legumes, peas, legumes, beans, lentils, and soy should be consumed by the elderly at least once a week. Nuts should be consumed more often but in moderation because they contain a higher fat proportion.

Hydration

Proper hydration prevents constipation and dehydration, a common problem in the elderly. Dehydration is the most common cause of water loss in the elderly.

When choosing a drink and the amount of fluid ingested, the quality of the drink is also important because the body loses many electrolytes and minerals along with water. For the elderly, the best choice is tap water, spring and mineral water, with or without carbon dioxide, and natural fruit juices, without sugar, diluted with plain or non-carbonated mineral water.

These drinks best achieve fluid balance in the body. Coffee and tea are not considered the best choice because they contain caffeine, which stimulates the body’s excretion of the fluid. These are more drinks to enjoy. Alcohol should be avoided by the elderly, tough alcohol because it causes several disorders. It is often a direct cause of malnutrition, reduces appetite, and impairs normal digestion and absorption. People who consume alcohol for a long time suffer from gastritis, gallstones, acute and chronic pancreatitis, arterial hypertension, and other disorders. If an older adult decides to drink alcohol, red wine is considered the best moderation choice. Red wine contains a lower proportion of alcohol and is rich in polyphenols, especially resveratrol, a group of organic compounds that are antioxidants by their mode of action. Consumption of this wine reduces cancer’s possibility and has a beneficial effect on increasing the so-called. Positive cholesterol (HDL), and at the same time, contributes to reducing dangerous (LDL) cholesterol, the cause of cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, in small quantities reduces the possibility of stone formation, but in large quantities interferes with calcium absorption. The recommendation for women is 1 dl of wine per day and men 2 dl of wine per day. If an older adult suffers from a chronic illness before consuming alcohol due to possible health problems, it is best to consult a doctor.

Physical activity

exercise during the lemon diet

Physical activity helps prevent chronic cardiovascular disease, reduces the risk of high blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes, prevents the formation of increased concentrations of fat in the blood, reduces the risk of stroke, reduces overweight, and is important for preventing osteoporosis. It is recommended that the older adult be physically active at least two to three times a week, for 15 to 30 minutes. When choosing a physical activity, preference should be given to exercises that improve heart function and breathing and fit into their daily routine. Several activities can be recommended for the elderly such as gardening, gymnastics, cycling, bowling, tennis, water exercises, dancing, etc. The best choice and ideal activity in an old area are walking. However, before choose ing physical activity, the elderly should consult a personal physician due to the specifics of the health condition and functional ability of the elderly.

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