Nutrition for Healthy Ageing

Healthy eating is essential for continued good health

  • Eating the right type of food is important for a healthy lifestyle.
  • As people age, they are susceptible to a multitude of diseases/conditions.
  • Many of these diseases/conditions like hypertension, diabetes and obesity can be prevented or at least modified by consuming a balanced diet.
  • Nutrition has emerged as a major modifiable determinant of chronic diseases and age related decline.
  • Some of the dietary changes that emerge as people age are as follows:
  • The nutritional needs of the elderly are very different. As people age, their activity levels decline and the body’s metabolism slows down, thus requiring lesser energy as well as smaller quantities of food.
  • Even though the elderly need less energy, they need the same amount or even more of vitamins and minerals. Food items rich in Vitamins E and C are known to have anti-ageing benefits as well as protective benefits from diseases like cancer, heart diseases and cancer.
  • Loss of teeth with advancing age leads to severe issues. As a result of this, chewing becomes extremely tough. Hence, the elderly prefer liquids or mashed food, though these may be deficient in terms of nourishment and supplements.
  • As people age, their power to digest and absorb food gradually diminishes. Hence, certain modifications in the kind and amount of food consumed become necessary.
  • As we grow older, the pleasure derived from eating diminishes. Therefore, meals should be made more attractive and appealing by including a variety of food items.

Dietary needs:

  • As people age, their energy requirements diminish drastically.
  • The intake of energy rich food items like chapati’s, rice, sugar, ghee and oil should be reduced.
  • The intake of green leafy vegetables and coloured fruits should be stepped up.

Dietary guidelines for Diet Related Chronic Disorders:

    • Obesity: It refers to the accumulation of excess body fat, leading to an increase in a person’s weight. It also leads to issues such as arthritis, diseases of the heart, diabetes etc.
    • The following dietary considerations should be kept in mind to enable weight loss:
    • reduce cereal intake.
    • reduce the intake of fatty food items.
    • avoid food items high in sugar.
    • include fibre rich fruits and vegetables.
    • exercise regularly.
    • Hypertension and diseases of the heart: Some of the major dietary considerations to be kept in mind in order to deal with such issues are:
    • avoid being overweight by exercising regularly and eating right.
    • restrict the intake of fats.
    • eggs and red meat should be avoided.
    • restrict the intake of salt in food items.
    • eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
    • alcohol consumption should be stopped completely or at least reduced dramatically
    • Diabetes: The following dietary considerations should be kept in mind to keep one’s diabetes condition under control:
    • sweet food items should be completely avoided.
    • avoid starchy fruits and vegetables.
    • consume more of cereals and pulses.
    • Osteoporosis: In order to improve overall bone health, food items rich in calcium and vitamin D should be consumed, such as milk and milk products. It has been suggested that phytoestrogens from soy and some other plant sources also account for better bone health.