Each age needs different nutrients and experiences changes in the body with age. Especially the elderly Which is the age where the body grows the most and causes more deterioration than other ages. Properly choosing the right food for the elderly will help the body get complete nutrition and slow down the body from deteriorating prematurely.
Changes in the body in the elderly
As with age, the body changes in many ways. The first is a matter of reduced metabolism. Eating without care, This may result in weight gain without knowing it and causing other health problems.
Not just a change in metabolism But the digestive system deteriorates as well. This causes the vital substances in the digestive process to be produced less and the absorption of essential nutrients back to the body is also reduced, Such as folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, so difficult to digest food and nutritional deficiencies are common problems at this age.
In addition, most of the elderly are likely to have underlying illnesses and take medication regularly. Which side effects of certain drugs may cause a decrease in appetite. Including being an age where emotional changes are easy to occur, such as feeling depressed alone, they tend not to be very interested in food. Causing certain types of foods to be eaten that provide a lot of energy and result in increased weight gain.
How to choose suitable food for the elderly
You are what you eat, that sounds easy but difficult to do. Due to physical and emotional changes Making eating and health difficult to occur simultaneously. By choosing the right foods to help older people eat happier and healthier with these simple tips:
Drink enough water
Many older people neglect their daily water intake and fail to notice their thirst. Which is vulnerable to dehydration easily and is harmful to the body. Therefore, you should drink enough water at least 2250 ml per day by sipping water frequently instead of drinking plenty of water at once.
In addition, the body is able to obtain water from other dietary sources, such as soups, stews, fresh fruits, and vegetables that contain a lot of water, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, and cucumbers. Besides water, you can drink fresh juices. Decaffeinated drinks Skim or low-fat milk But are careful with the salt and sugar in foods and beverages.
Increase dietary fiber
Fiber is a vital part of the digestive system to function normally. Reduce constipation or other digestive problems. Older adults are advised to increase their fiber intake at every meal. Especially Soluble Fiber, which helps maintain a balanced cholesterol level in the body. It is also rich in minerals, vitamins, and makes it easy to control weight.
Examples of foods that are high in fiber include fruits and vegetables, oats, nuts, whole grains, brown rice, which may initially be small at each meal. Choose to eat fruit instead of fruit juice. Eat fruit without a peel. But should wash the fruit thoroughly first, Choose for whole-grain bread or cereal instead of regular cereal.
If the body is not getting enough fiber Some people may be taking a natural fiber supplement of psyllium husk. But before taking any supplement, always consult your doctor or pharmacist. For safety, however, getting the dietary fiber that comes directly from nature will be more beneficial to the body. Therefore should not only focus on eating dietary supplements.
Focus on foods that are useful but provide low energy.
As far as it is known, the body at this age has a decrease in metabolism. The amount of energy it has should also decrease. Choosing a diet that is high in nutrients but low in energy (Nutrient Dense Foods) seems to be a good solution. Because the body receives all the essential vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, and fats, with the number of calories that are not too much. Such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, low-fat dairy or protein products, meat, fish, and chicken instead of high-energy but less nutritious foods such as fried foods, desserts, sweetened beverages, fast food, which should Eat only occasionally.
Control the calories of food eaten
The amount you eat and your energy intake will depend on your daily activities. In general, the elderly need less energy than other ages. To get energy from food that is eaten too much the body needs, plus a decreased metabolism. It may easily affect weight when eating is not regulated.
The amount of energy that should be received each day for people over 50 years old.
- For people who are not physically active, about 1,600 calories are required.
- For those who move slightly, about 1,800 calories are required.
- People who move a lot of body need about 2,000-2,200 calories.
- People who are not physically active About 2,000 calories required.
- Those who move slightly Approximately 2,200-2,400 calories are required.
- People who are physically active About 2,400-2,800 calories are required.
In addition, the same food but different ingredients. Will make energy and nutrients that are not equal Therefore, it is important to only avoid counting the number of calories from food eaten, But should take into account the nutritional value received as well, such as 1 medium banana, 1 cup of milk, 1 cup cereal, cereal, or 1 teaspoon of peanut butter will provide the same amount of energy. But drinking milk will help the body get more calcium than a banana. Peanut butter provides more protein than cereal.
Choose foods that are easy to chew.
Some foods that are too sticky or hard may not be suitable for the elderly. Because of the health of teeth and gums changes with age, just like the rest of the body. Therefore making biting or chewing food is not as good as a young person. Food should be soft, chewy, and may choose foods that have been cooked to soften them not overcooked to stiffen or choose for some canned food products, such as low-sodium soups. Canned fruit, no added sugar, or low sugar canned tuna.
Always read product labels before purchasing that they contain low amounts of sugar, sodium, saturated fat. But also contains minerals, vitamins, or fiber. Additionally, some older adults may develop an allergic reaction to milk sugar (Lactose Intolerance), making them more vulnerable to stomach pain, diarrhea, or gas after drinking milk or eating dairy foods.
Should be avoided when eating raw or poorly stored food.
Certain foods are susceptible to contamination of various pathogens when they are poorly stored or uncooked before eating. Because it can cause life-threatening illnesses in some elderly people Examples of foods you should be careful with include unpasteurized milk and dairy products, raw eggs, red meat, or raw poultry. In addition, cooked foods that are kept to eat at the next meal or not eaten out should be kept in the refrigerator within 1-2 hours to prevent bacteria from forming.
Flavored with spices and herbs
Elderly people often have a decreased appetite. The perception of taste and smell is so distorted that you think your favorite dish doesn’t taste the same. Thus making less caring about food eaten. Flavoring food with spices or herbs may enhance the flavor and aroma of the food and also reduce the use of less salt or sugar.
Add vitamins to the body
Only eating may not be enough to get the full nutrients each day. Due to physical and emotional changes Especially calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 that older people need to repair the body than young people. And eating a complete nutrient may require excessive consumption. Some people can rely on supplements from various dietary supplements.
However, taking these supplements may affect other medications being taken at that time. Therefore should consult a doctor or pharmacist before eating and the best nutrients come from the food we eat.
Always read the product label.
It is very important to read the label of the nutrient information on the product and make it easier to decide on what to eat. Make it known and important ingredients in food. For example, exposure to energy, fat, sodium, sugar, because some older people have a physical condition where they should avoid or limit certain ingredients that may affect the body.
Reduce sodium intake
The body gets most of the sodium from eating salt. But can be found from many kinds of fresh food Especially those with high protein and canned food products that often add sodium to it later. This causes many older people to get too much sodium they need and may cause the body’s blood pressure to be higher than normal.
People over 50 should get as little as 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day or 2/3 teaspoons. Therefore, before adding salt or other seasonings, the amount of sodium that is already in food or snacks should be considered. Alternatively, herbs and spices may be used for flavor enhancement instead.
Reduce excess fat
Basically, your body gets fat from two sources: the fat in the food itself and the fat added while cooking. But the body can not lose fat. Because it is an energy source and also helps dissolve certain vitamins. Therefore, choosing to eat more unsaturated fats than saturated or trans fats such as nuts, avocados, fish oil, vegetable oils.
The elderly can also reduce their fat intake by other means, such as using a moderate amount of oil while cooking. Use a pan with a protective coating that will help you use less oil. Choose lean meats or low-fat dairy products. Change the cooking method from frying to grilling, baking, hot air baking, steaming, or boiling instead.
Less sweet, good for health
Another thing to be aware of is the sweetness of the sugar hidden in various foods or beverages, whether it be sweets, chocolate, cakes, soft drinks, fruit juices. And some product labels can refer to the different types of sugars used in those products by many names, such as Maltose, Corn Syrup, Fructose, Molasses, Glucose, or Honey. The elderly may unconsciously get large amounts of sugar. Affects higher than normal weight and develops other diseases, including diabetes, obesity, or cerebrovascular disease.
The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons of sugar per day, or about 36 grams for men and women should not exceed 6 teaspoons or about 25 grams. Additionally, sugar added to food or beverages should not exceed 5% of your daily energy intake. In the beginning, it may gradually begin to reduce sugar consumption little by little, such as changing to water or fruit juice without added sugar instead of soft drinks. Avoid sugary foods, Choose unsweetened cereals or cereals. Including reading product labels To compare the amount of sugar in food.
For example, the label states that 100 grams of food contain more than 22.5 grams of sugar, which is considered relatively high in sugar. Because it is a partial food content in the product If they are all eaten, they will receive added sugar. While another product may contain no more than 5 grams of sugar per 100 grams of food, the body gets much less sugar.