Dietary Restrictions for the Elderly

As people grow older, many things change in their lives and in their bodies. Elderly people tend to sleep less, have poorer eyesight and hearing and their dietary needs change somewhat as well. The need for vitamins and minerals changes with the age, so it is normal that the diet needs to change as well. Imagine eating the same kind of food you loved in your early twenties all through your forties.

People who work with elderly, like caretakers, typically know about these restrictions and attempt to help the elderly adjust to the new diet and stick to it, for their own benefit.

healthy eating for the elderly

Here are some nutrients which are important and the reasons why.

 

Calcium

As people grow older, the density of their bones decreases and that causes the bones to become brittle. That’s why elderly people seem to break their bones more easily than younger people. The best way to offset this problem is to increase the intake of calcium through food or supplements.

Sodium

Sodium is a part of the most commonly used seasoning in the world – salt. Even though it makes food taste delicious, salt is not very good for you, especially in the doses we usually take it eating processed foods. The sodium in the salt increases the blood pressure beyond the normal level, thus increasing the chances of a heart attack, stroke or any other vascular disease.
What that means for everyone, and particularly the elderly, is that we have to change some eating habits, like eating less processed food and focusing on the fresh and homemade food instead. Another helpful tip is to substitute regular salt for sea salt that has many health benefits!.

Potassium

A good way to reduce your sodium levels is to eat foods rich in potassium. This mineral, apart from its other health benefits, also manages the sodium levels in the organism. The vascular system can particularly benefit from a healthy dose of potassium.
Bananas are lauded as a great source of potassium. Unfortunately, the amount of potassium in one banana is just a tenth of what an elderly person would require. So, one way to replenish the potassium supply is to eat ten bananas each day, but that is a bit farfetched. Instead, try eating foods which also contain potassium in lower amounts, like leafy greens, beans, or cantaloupe. You can also ask your doctor to recommend a good multi-mineral food supplement,

Fibers

You have probably heard about the importance of fibers before, and it cannot be stressed enough how important the proper functioning of the digestive system. Eating plenty of fibers is good for everyone, but the elderly can benefit particularly from this type of nutrients. Simply put, the digestive system of elderly people slows down and some medications that they take can also disrupt bowel movements.

Fibers help with the regularity and the consistency of the bowel movements, preventing constipation and pain during excretion. There are plenty of fibers in plant food like cereal and all kinds of beans, so try to eat some every day.

Fats

Much to the dismay of diet gurus and health promoters, nutritionists and doctors explain that not all fats are bad. Things like trans fats and the saturated fats are still marked as bad and should be avoided, but there are different kinds of fats which your body needs to function properly.

Over the recent decades, the Omega 3 acids have been promoted as good for you. Typically, they are found in fatty fish like tuna, but they are also readily available in the form of supplements.

Keeping a strict regimen of diet may sound exhausting and constricting, but staying healthy and living a long life is a worthy incentive.

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