Nutritional Considerations For The Elderly

Many challenges we face with age are directly connected with the quality and the quantity of food we consume.

With disruption in digestion and abruption along with hormonal changes, the negative impact of poor nutrition is magnified.

And when older people lose their appetite, the nutritional deficiencies snowball into a variety of health problems.

Here are few things to remember when preparing food for the elderly.

Hydration

Young or old, water is the number one ingredient in the body. As we age, we may lose the feeling of thirst. Prevalent dehydration in all ages becomes even more common in the elderly.  Some suggest having an ounce of water for every couple of pounds of body weight.

That is a good starting point. However, it is cellular hydration we are after and how frequently we drink is important as how much we drink. Gulping down a full glass of water sends us to the bathroom quickly and does very little for cellular hydration.

Protein Intake

As the muscle mass decreases with age, more often than not lack of activity, the significance of high-quality protein intake increases to help sustain the muscle mass left.

Protein intake also impacts the immune system. The common approach is to increase animal-based protein. However, the inflammatory factors of animal-based products along with their acidic tendencies make them less than ideal.

A high-quality protein source such as pea protein prepared at home or purchased as supplements may work better. Always check how well the protein is absorbed and not just how much protein is listed on the bottle.

Carbs

The primary source of energy for the body is carbohydrates. With some diseases such as diabetes, carb intake is often severely regulated, and that regulation may decrease the energy.

Often natural carbs from vegetables and fruits because of their fiber content slow down the absorption of sugar and reduce the negative impact that otherwise comes from consuming artificial or simple sweets such a sugar or even natural ones such as honey.

Apple is a great example. The glycemic index of apple is a low range of 28 to 44.

Fat 
Various cardiovascular diseases that are compounded through aging require the lower intake of fat. However, too low fat intake impacts the abruption of food as well as taste.