The appropriate and well-balanced diet plays an irreplaceable role in the case of the health of both young people and seniors! By following the right diet for an older person, we can prolong their life, prevent diseases and also relieve the symptoms of existing ones! Sounds promising, right? And how do you achieve that? Today we present everything you need to know about nutritional needs for the elderly to ensure a comfortable and tasty life for yourself or your loved ones! We have a lot to say, so let’s get straight to the point! What should the right diet for an older person look like?
The right diet for an older person – key nutritional principles
Older people need the same nutrients as younger ones, with the difference that as they grow older, their bodies require them in slightly different proportions. Energy requirements generally decrease, while nutritional needs for the elderly are often higher. It may not be possible, for example, to introduce raw vegetables or fruit into the elderly diet, due to digestive problems or reflux disease, or dairy products on account of lactose intolerance. It may also be necessary to change the consistency of meals due to, for example, missing teeth or inconvenience associated with the overdentures. Healthy food for diabetics also differs slightly from the diet for healthy adults. The primary source of nutrients in the elderly diet should be food. In selected cases, however, it may be necessary to supplement deficiencies with appropriate dietary supplements. We should pay attention to the composition of the preparations to avoid too high doses of individual components. Supplementation should be selected individually, based on current diagnostic tests, preferably in consultation with a doctor.
A healthy diet for the elderly – basics
The right diet for an older person does not include frying, smoking, roux, grilling and traditional baking. It is advisable to prepare food by steaming, boiling, baking in foil and, in the case of problems with chewing and swallowing, blending or grinding. It is important that the meals eaten are small and served regularly and often 5-6 times a day. Also, remember to drink water and other unsweetened liquids frequently. Spices such as pepper and salt should be avoided in an easy-to-digest diet and can be replaced by other spices.
Healthy food for diabetics
The list of healthy foods for diabetics includes natural dairy products such as yoghurt, buttermilk, kefir, curd, cheese, as well as vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, courgette, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, lettuce, Brussels sprouts, and many others. Also helpful are whole-grain cereal products, pasta, cereal. As for meat and fish, it is recommended that you eat them in limited quantities and opt for lean and white meat such as chicken, turkey and all fish. Fruit such as oranges, grapefruit, peaches, apples, apricots, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and currants can also be included in the diabetic elderly diet in moderation.
Healthy food for osteoporosis patients
Osteoporosis is a multifactorial, complex disorder associated with an asymptomatic decrease in bone mass. Meals for the elderly suffering from this disease should be mainly rich in calcium, contained in dairy products such as natural yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, milk, yellow cheeses, kale, broccoli, or soybeans, and in vitamin D, which can be found in margarine, salmon, or trout. Other staples in an elderly diet should be vitamin K (spinach, kale, broccoli, eggs, liver, lettuce), vitamin C (citrus fruit, blackcurrants, kiwi, peppers, parsley, cauliflower) and magnesium and zinc, found in buckwheat, nuts, pulses, pumpkin seeds and cocoa. However, when choosing the right diet for an older person with this condition, medical consultation is essential!
Healthy food for heart disease patients
The right diet for an older person is important for both the prevention and treatment of heart diseases. In particular, maintaining an appropriate body weight plays an essential role. Overweight and obesity, among other things, promote high blood pressure and increase the risk of atherosclerosis. Another frequent problem is high cholesterol levels caused by eating too many products containing saturated fatty acids, e.g. fatty meat and cold cuts, lard, butter, bacon, yellow and melted cheese. Meals for the elderly with heart disease should not include sweets such as wafers, chocolate bars and biscuits, which usually contain large amounts of hydrogenated palm oil containing trans fats that are harmful to the body.
That is all the information you need to help you create a balanced diet for yourself or an elderly loved one. And for more information from the world of nutrition and senior living, take a peek at our blog.