Nutrition for Older People
When people get older they will experience some physical changes, which as a result will affect their quality of life. Some of these physical changes are, loss of muscle mass and strength, nutrient deficiency, digestive system problems, low bone health, and dehydration.
Good nutrition can help older people get over the age-related changes, and keep them healthy as they age.
Older people usually experience muscle loss, which is called “Sarcopenia”. It’s considered to be one of the major causes of weakness, and bone fractures (breaks).
Eating more protein will help strengthen muscles, and fight sarcopenia, A combination of high protein diet with resistance training (weight lifting) is very effective in treating sarcopenia.
Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA): 0.8g/kg per day
Protein foods: meat, fish, poultry, egg, dairy, nuts, legumes, lentils, and seeds.
Constipation is very common in older people; this is because they take medications and move less.
Eating a diet rich in fiber will increase their bowel movement; which can then treat constipation.
RDA: 30g per day.
Fiber foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lentils, popcorn, and chia seeds.
- Calcium & Vitamin D
Older people usually have low calcium and Vitamin D levels, which leads to bone loss and fractures.
Eating foods high in calcium and Vitamin D will give them stronger bones and less fractures.
Calcium RDA: 1200 mg per day
Calcium foods: dairy products, leafy green vegetables, sardines, canned salmon, edamame, tofu, figs, and fortified cereals.
Vitamin D RDA: 10 micrograms per day
Vitamin D foods: seafood, dairy products, mushrooms, and fortified foods.
As people get older, they don’t get thirsty when they’re dehydrated; which can then increase fatigue, and reduce the absorption of medications.
It’s very important to drink 8 glasses of water a day, or carry a bottle of water wherever you go.