As a definition of Elderly, most developed countries of world have accepted the chronological age of 65 years or more. At this stage several biological, physiological, physical and psychological changes are associated with age having impact in the dietary pattern and nutrient requirements.
Good/healthy food habits and Regular comfortable level of physical activity are required to minimise the ill effects of ageing and to improve the quality of life.
The common physiological and biological changes that occur at this age along with the required dietary and nutritional modification are listed below –
Elderly needs adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
Elderly need more calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin A and antioxidants to prevent age related degenerative diseases and for healthy ageing.
Below are the healthy tips of nutrition for elderly people
- The elderly people need same amount of vitamins and minerals that they needed as adults, even though the elderly needs less energy. A liberal use of vegetables and fruits will help to provide these nutrients.
- Drink plenty of fluids. However, tea and coffee should be taken in moderate amounts and smoking and alcohol should be avoided.
- Food for elderly people should be rich in protein like egg white, pulses, chicken, fish, toned milk.
- Small quantities of food should be consumed at more frequent intervals. Eating small nutritious snacks in between meals may help provide relief from heartburn and acidity and provide nourishment.
- Adequate water and high fibre rich foods like whole cereals pulses, fruits and vegetables helps to overcome elderly from constipation from which they commonly suffer.
- The diet needs to be well cooked, soft and less salty and spicy.
- Eggs, red meat, ghee should be avoided since they give rise to diet related disorders like diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease etc. Lean meats like chicken & fish may be included in the diet.
Additional tips to remain fit & active
Exercise is an integral part of maintaining healthy life. The risk of degenerative diseases is considerably decreased by regular exercise. Exercise schedule should be decided in consultation with a physician.
Tips for Good Health
- Regular Exercise
- Regular check ups for blood sugar, lipids and blood pressure which should start monitoring at the age of 30 years at least every 6 months.
- Adopt stress management techniques ( yoga & medication )
- Avoid smoking, chewing of tobacco & tobacco products.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Avoid Self medication.
The content is for general information purpose only. For specific and individual dietary advice and meal plan, please consult a qualified dietitian/nutritionist.
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF NUTRITION: Nutrition tips for the elderly
INDIAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION : Healthy Eating in Old Age
INDIAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION: Clinical Dietetics Mannual, Second Edition, 2018