Seniors need more nutrition in their food as their bodies change. However, some people may think that going for instant meals may be the way to go, but there’s a danger of illnesses compromising them. To counter possible decline, a dietary plan needs to be in place.
Appetite changes as you age
As people age, the body’s appetite for sustenance tends to change along a variety of factors, including:
- Digestive system. The digestive system sends signals to the brain when it is time to eat. Age, however, affects the transmission of the signals, in such a way that the brain may be tipped about eating less.
- Sense of taste and smell. Age can affect the condition of the taste buds and nasal receptors that register odours or fragrances. Gradual loss of both may trigger a loss of appetite.
- Saliva. Saliva is already critical to breaking down the food as you chew and swallow. The salivary glands lose efficiency with age and may even be aggravated with any medications. Dry mouth is often one of the results of lower saliva production.
- Bowels. A lack of food and liquid balance will hamper bowel movements and lead to issues such as diarrhoea, nausea, and constipation. The quality of food and liquid intake may even affect the colour of the stool as well.
- Nutrient deficiency. Poor appetites can affect nutritional intake, especially nutrients that are critical to body functions late in life.
- Emotional welfare. Any issues that play havoc with a person’s emotional wellbeing, such as stress, depression, grief, or serious illnesses, can also do the same with appetite. Loss of appetite induced by depression and grief, in particular, may be evident when a close loved one passes away.
Adjusting your food and eating habits
To counter the threat of the above, seniors can make adjustments to their eating habits and keep their quality of life on the level. Loved ones may be welcome to help them out where necessary. A dietary plan may also be drawn up during consultations with your doctor and a Dietitians Australia-certified dietitian.
The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommends eating plans for all ages to focus on balancing components under the five common food groups: vegetables and legumes, fruits, grain and cereals, lean meat and poultry, and dairy products such as low-fat milk and yoghurt cheese.
Each component has its notable concentration of virtual nutrients. For example, lean meat such as eggs and oily fish is rich in Vitamin D for bone health, which is even better with the calcium present in cheese, yoghurt, and custard. Fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega3, which can lower blood pressure and risk of coronary disease, stroke and dementia. Leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach contain Vitamin K which reinforces bone mass and aids in blood clots. A 100-gram serving of red beans will have at least 22 grams of carbs and six grams of protein. Seniors concerned with eyesight issues can supplant their food with, among others, carrots, peaches, and mangoes.
Important elements in your food and dietary plan
- Hydration. It is advised that an elderly person drinks between six to eight glasses of water a day. The constant drinking enables the salivary glands to keep up saliva production and also for the digestive system to aid in the smooth flow of body waste. Aside from water, milk, tea, coffee, and fruit juices – including those prepared through juicers – can also work. Some health experts may even recommend mixing the juicer output with protein powder and yoghurt as smoothies. Sugar intake is also a problem with liquid intake. To this end, limit or avoid drinks with sweeteners, softdrinks, commercial fruit juices and even sports drinks.
- More protein. Increased protein intake reduces the risk of slip and falls as a result of muscle mass degradation. Noted items on the list include lean meat, eggs, soybeans, nuts, legumes, and lentils. Even if there’s a good serving of meat, they must be sliced up into smaller portions to make them easier to chew. A nutrition specialist, however, may rule out processed meat such as ham, bacon, and sausages.
- Veggie good, veggie best. If you have a helping of meat in our diet plan, vegetables can counterbalance the protein intake with a helping of fibre, such as broccoli, cauliflower and green beans. As seniors find many vegetables tough to chew, it is recommended that they be cut up and steamed; steaming enables the food to retain nutrients as opposed to boiling, which breaks them up.
- Reduced salt. Salt is already a nasty trigger of, among other ailments, high blood pressure and kidney stones, and is present in processed foods and condiments such as soy sauce. Avoid using salt to add more flavour to the food while cooking and add up herbs or spices instead.
- Junking the bad fatty food. Limit or eliminate food products that have saturated fat and trans fat content, both of which can raise bad cholesterol levels. Foods high in saturated fat include meat slices with layers of fat, dark chicken meat and skin, and butter. Food items with concentration of trans fats include anything fried, baked items such as pastries and cookies, and processed snacks, as well as margarine. Sadly, those fats are heavily present in many fast food products, not to mention high sodium content. A solution for bread flavouring includes switching anything using cocoa butter or palm oil with nut butter spreads, natural oils, and avocado.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage
Even with a good dieting plan, you can sweat off the food with a workable exercise strategy.
The ASAG Reverse Mortgage can aid you in your eating options. Through an Aged Care package which will finance your Day-to-Day Expenses, including shopping for healthier food options and preparation, as well as fitness classes.
It is never too late to change dietary habits to keep your body functioning in later years. You can maintain your health with help from ASAG. Call 1300 002 274 or email at email@example.com.
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