A balanced diet for elderly person becomes increasingly important when they age because the foods and drinks that used to make up a healthy diet when a person was young may need to be different. This happens because their metabolism and body composition changes over time when a person ages.
Good nutrition promotes good health in individuals. A balanced diet for eldery person ensures a high quality of life and plays a vital role in a person’s overall well-being.
Understanding the key factors for a balanced diet for an elderly person is essential. This article will discuss the important factors to consider when designing an optimal nutrition plan for elderly adults.
What happens when people age?
There are many health changes that occur in the body when people age, leading to physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. As a person ages, their body undergoes a series of physical changes. But the noticeable change is the gradual decline in physical health, like reduced muscle mass and loss of strength and mobility which makes the small task challenging for them.
A balanced diet for elderly people will not make them gain physical mass, but it will surely help them gain strength by strengthening bones and muscles. It’s important to remember that aging in a person is associated with a range of physical and cognitive changes, and these changes vary widely among individuals. They can be inﬂuenced by factors such as genetics, lifestyle, and overall health status.
That’s why a balanced diet for elderly people is important to maintain good physical health.
Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits
A balanced diet for an elderly person is crucial to maintaining healthy eating habits. The following suggestions will help elderly person maintain healthy eating habits:
1- Use Less Salt:
Salt occurs naturally in raw foods such as meat, eggs, milk, and vegetables, or some manufacturers add salt while preparing food. We all know that salt is an essential mineral in our diet, but too much salt intake can increase the risks of high blood pressure and heart disease in elderly person.
Elderly people should restrict their intake of high-salt foods such as cured beef and snack foods like potato chips and pastries. Instead, choose reduced salt varieties with natural herbs and spices. A balanced diet for elderly people with a balanced amount of salt will help them maintain their blood pressure.
2- Drink more water:
People of all ages are suggested to drink more and more water in their daily routine because water helps in many vital functions, including digestion, hydration, and blood volume.
However, it is a fact that when people get old, they dont feel thirsty when their body needs ﬂuids. That’s the reason doctors recommend taking at least eight glasses of water while designing a balanced diet for elderly person.
3- Limit the intake of food continuing high fats:
Foods like cream biscuits, cake, pasta, fried items, and much more generally contain high amounts of saturated fats. These types of foods should be eaten occasionally, especially by elderly people.
If any elderly person is a big fan of desserts and wants to eat as much as possible, they should try to replace these desserts with fresh sweet fruits, yogurt, and custard to add sweetness.
4- Control portion sizes:
Many elderly people love to try different varieties of foods from different food groups. They should be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating and obtain a variety of tastes. The best way while prepare a balanced diet for an elderly person is to use
measuring cups or a food scale to measure the serving size or try to use small bowls and plates to control their portion size.
5- Avoid processed food:
Processed foods contain extra oil, sugar, salt, and excessive sodium. These things are vital in developing heart disease and high blood pressure. So it’s essential to minimize the recommended processed food while preparing a balanced diet for eldery people and replace them with unprocessed foods.
6- Intake of vitamins and minerals:
As a person ages, they don’t feel like eating much in their daily routine because of reduced appetite, which can cause deﬁciencies in some essential minerals and vitamins. So it’s important to have vitamins and minerals supplements in a balanced diet for elderly person by the doctor’s recommendation.
But it’s important to note that minerals and vitamin supplements cannot compensate for a poor diet. So elderly people need to enjoy a variety of foods as possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Things to put on your plate when you are above 55
When a person ages 55, putting on healthy items to maintain a balanced diet becomes crucial. Here is a list of things that should be considered while preparing a balanced diet for an elderly person.
1- Fruits and Vegetables:
Try to include a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet because fruits and vegetables are the primary sources of essential vitamins, minerals, and ﬁbers. Take at least ﬁve fruits and at least two vegetables daily, incorporating a mix of leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, and other seasonal produce.
2- Whole Grains:
Replacing reﬁned grain with whole grain will increase ﬁber intake and help maintain a steady energy level in elderly people. When preparing a balanced diet for an elderly person, replace white rice with brown rice, including oats, whole wheat, and other whole grain products. This will give them a balanced amount of carbohydrates and essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals.
3- Low-fat Dairy
Dairy is a good source for the intake of calcium and vitamin D. If you are a dairy lover, opt for low-fat dairy products like skim milk, yogurt, and low-fat cheese. If you are lactose intolerant or prefer plant-based options, choose fortiﬁed plant-based milk alternatives like almond, soy, or oat milk.
4- Incorporate healthy fats:
Fats are essential for an elderly person, but too much intake of fats can be a reason for the development of heart disease. Try to make a balanced diet for elderly people by adding healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, nuts, and ﬁsh. These fats also provide omega-3 fatty acids, which beneﬁt heart health.
5- Limit sodium and added sugar intake:
Reduce your sodium intake by avoiding processed and packaged foods, which are frequently high in sodium. Limit your intake of added sugars, which can be found in sugary drinks, sweets, and processed snacks. Choose whole, minimally processed meals instead.
6- Anti-oxidant rich foods:
Avoid processed and packaged foods because of high salt and sodium carbonate. Avoid added sugar products, which can be found in sugary drinks, candies, and processed snacks. Instead, opt for whole, minimally processed foods.
7- Balanced Macronutrient intake:
Macronutrient intake should be added when making a balanced diet for elderly person; it includes carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables should be the primary sources of carbohydrates. Protein is essential for muscle mass preservation and should be obtained from lean meats, poultry, ﬁsh, dairy products, legumes, and nuts. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil are healthy fats that should be incorporated into the diet.
8- Calcium and Vitamin D:
When people get old, they don’t get enough calcium and vitamin D. However; it is essential for bone health and preventing osteoporosis. Dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortiﬁed plant-based milk replacements are good calcium sources. Sunlight exposure and dietary sources such as fatty ﬁsh and supplements, if necessary, are good sources of vitamin D.
Extra Speciﬁc Advice along with a balanced diet for Elderly People:
Here is some extra speciﬁc advice for elderly person.
1- Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Along with a balanced diet for the elderly, it’s also essential to maintain a healthy weight by doing physical exercise because it is more associated with extra body fat. Walking for 30 minutes or a little extra a day and doing a little exercise to reduce body fat is essential.
Another option is to supplement their exercise regimen with a natural health product called Roundhouse Morning Kick. This supplement can aid in reducing body fat and promoting overall well-being.
2- Maintain your teeth health:
Maintaining healthy gum and teeth is essential to enjoy food. If hard foods like nuts, fruits, or vegetables are difﬁcult to chew, then try to add food alternatives to a balanced diet for elderly person, such as juices and crushed nuts.
3- Consult with a doctor
As a person ages, their body may need different types of vitamins and minerals that can not be covered with a balanced diet. So it’s essential to consult a doctor for health needs, particularly about the deﬁciencies.
4- Avoid Beverages:
Every beverage contains added sugar that can harm an elderly person. Try to make a balanced diet for elderly person with water or pulpy juices. It will keep their hydration level balanced without any harmful effects.
5- Fish is an elderly person’s friend:
Adding ﬁsh to a balanced diet for an elderly person can reduce the chances of heart disease, dementia, stroke, and other heart problems. Trying to intake ﬁsh twice a week is a wise choice.
The foods and drinks used to make a healthy diet can not work the same when a person ages. Planning a balanced diet for elderly person will reduce health risks and increase their strength and mobility. Incorporating these suggestions can help elderly people maintain a healthy lifestyle and well-being.