If you have grandparents at home, then this article is a must for you. Nutritional requirements of the elderly are different from that of adults. Lower metabolism and reduced physical activity, nutritional and energy requirements change and there is need to make modifications in their diet and lifestyle. As a person ages, the need for some nutrients may be more than others. The number of calories you need reduce significantly. Every calorie that the elderly consume must be packed with nutrition in order to meet their requirements. Intake of Vitamin B12, folate, folic acid, calcium, Vitamin D and potassium amongst others are important for the elderly to feel fit and capable of performing day-to-day activities.
Nutritional requirements of the elderly: What nutritionist Nmami Agarwal has to say
Nutritionist Nmami Agarwal recently took to Instagram to talk about nutritional needs of the elderly. She says that following are the 5 foods that elderly need to stay healthy:
1. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
Heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids are important for one and all. Walnuts, fatty fish, soya bean, chia seeds and flaxseeds are examples of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help in preventing inflammation-which is considered to be the root cause of most diseases. They are good for heart health and must be a part of daily diet of the elderly.
2. Foods rich in calcium
Sufficient calcium intake is required by the elderly for strong and healthy bones. Calcium is required to prevent breakage of bones. Nmami says that calcium helps the body to build and maintain healthy bones and also lower blood pressure. “Body’s requirement of calcium is so essential that if you are not getting enough of it from the diet, the body begins to reabsorbing calcium from the body, making them brittle and fragile. This may increase risk of osteoporosis,” says Nmami in the video, while adding that foods rich in calcium like milk and dairy products, ragi, chickpeas and leafy green vegetables.
3. Foods rich in fibre
Digestive system slows down as you age. Walls of gastrointestinal tract thicken making bowel movement difficult, leading to constipation. Thus, fibre is one of the most important nutrients for the elderly. Whole grains, nuts and seeds, lentils and legumes and fruits and vegetables must be a part of the diet of elderly.
4. Foods rich in iron
Iron is required by the body as it produces haemoglobin, which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. When you don’t consume enough iron, it restricts supply of oxygen in the body. This results in fatigue and tiredness. Elderlies must ensure intake of iron by consuming leafy green vegetables, beetroot, prunes, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds are examples of foods rich in iron.
5. Foods rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C rich foods are required by the body for a stronger immunity. Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is required by the body for optimum, growth, development and repair of body tissues. It is involved in many body functions, like formation of collagen, absorption of iron, healing of bones and maintenance of teeth, bones and cartilage. All these functions are important for elderly. Amla, citrus fruits, lemon, bell peppers, broccoli, papaya and strawberries are examples of foods rich in Vitamin C.