In the elderly, every organ in the body is gradually aging, declining in function, affecting health and life. If you know how to balance eating, sports and health care, the elderly can still live healthy, optimistic spirits. Experts have built a nutrition pyramid for the elderly for you to apply.
1. Things to know about digestion in the elderly
Why apply? Nutrition pyramid for the elderly separate from other subjects such as children, adolescents or adults? This is due to changes in nutrition and organ functioning in the elderly such as:
1.1. Metabolism slows down
As we age, the functioning of the organs also slows down, so the metabolic rate is not as good as before. The most obvious manifestations of this condition are: low nutritional needs, frequent bloating, loss of appetite, indigestion, digestive disorders, etc.
Therefore, the elderly should reduce some substances in the diet, giving priority to nutritious, low-calorie foods to control weight well. Calculation of daily energy intake is also based on consumption and physical activity. On average women will consume 1,800 kcal, men 2,300 calories per day, physical activity will increase energy requirements higher.
1.2. Decreased taste
This is the reason why elderly people often lose their appetite. Especially those with disease, need long-term drug treatment leading to impaired digestive function. If this problem is not overcome, the elderly will suffer from nutritional deficiencies, affecting their general health.
1.3. Poor digestion
Since the first organs of the digestive system are the chewing muscles, the elderly also often have weak teeth and fall out, the force of chewing muscles decreases, making the crushing of food less effective. The stomach also suffers from aging with reduced contractility and ability to secrete gastric juice, easily leading to digestive disorders.
In addition, the elderly body also produces less fluid, making the digestion and absorption of nutrients ineffective, especially folic acid, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin B6.
1.4. Psychological changes
Elderly people, who spend a long time at home, often feel lonely and depressed, so they have no interest in eating.
It can be said that age has a great impact on health in general and the ability to eat and drink in particular. Therefore, the elderly need to implement a more special diet, ensuring adequate nutrition and health promotion.
2. What does the nutritional pyramid for the elderly include?
The nutrition pyramid is a standard that is built so that each of us can apply it to our daily diet, both to ensure health, to live needs and to overcome the problems the body encounters. For the elderly, the nutrition pyramid is built to help prevent cardiovascular problems, constipation, diabetes, excess cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. In addition, proper nutrition for the elderly will help maintain weight, energy and mental health.
Like the standard nutrient pyramid, Nutrition pyramid for the elderly It also includes 4 main food groups to provide: Carbohydrates, Proteins, Fats, Fruits and vegetables. In particular, it is important that the following foods should be given priority.
2.1. Whole grains
Whole grains provide carbohydrates that are essential for the body’s vital activities, in addition, they also contain a lot of fiber to support digestion and prevent cardiovascular diseases common in the elderly. In addition to cereals, the elderly can diversify their daily menu with whole grain bread, black bread or brown rice.
2.2. Healthy Fats
Fat is an important nutritional group for health, especially the elderly should give priority to foods containing unsaturated fats such as nuts, vegetable oils, fatty fish, avocados, etc. Fried foods, animal organs, red meat fat, etc. contain bad fats that are not good for health and digestion in the elderly.
2.3. The protein
Nutrition for the elderly cannot lack protein from foods such as beans, chicken, fish, eggs, lean meat, nuts, etc. to ensure muscle health and provide energy for life activities.
2.4. Fruits and berries
This food group provides a lot of vitamins, fiber, minerals and other essential nutrients for the body. Especially green vegetables, fresh fruits, whole grains, … help prevent constipation, cardiovascular disease, blood pressure and maintain a reasonable weight.
2.5. Vitamin D and Calcium
Calcium is an important element in ensuring bone health – a common problem in the elderly. Therefore, the diet for the elderly must be fortified with foods rich in Vitamin D and calcium.
2.6. Vitamin B12
In the elderly, due to aging, the functioning of the organs also decreases, the ability to absorb Vitamin B12 is also reduced. Therefore, the elderly need more vitamin B12 in their diet. Cereals or vitamin B12 supplements are necessary, but should be done under the direction of a doctor.
Many people focus only on the foods they eat every day and ignore water. In fact, the elderly need to replenish a large amount of water daily to ensure metabolic activity, eliminate toxins and fight aging. In addition to drinking water, you can add water from fruits such as watermelon, cucumber, grapes, … or soups.
Reasonable application Nutrition pyramid for the elderly, combined with regular rest and punctuality will help the elderly maintain good health in the long run. Especially the elderly often suffer from insomnia, create the best sleep conditions, especially the period from 11 pm to 3 am to maintain deep sleep.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.