A healthy meal is a balanced meal. And it is required in old age as much as it is in any other phase of a person’s life. For senior citizens eating well can be the key to staying mentally sharp, emotionally balanced and energetic, with a strong immune system and a positive outlook. A healthy diet in old age can:
1. Increase mental acuteness
2. Increase resistance to illness and disease
3. Lead to higher energy levels
4. Lead to a more robust immune system
5. Lead to faster recuperation times
6. And better management of chronic health problems.
Why people don’t eat properly in old age
1. Slow metabolism: the metabolism of the human body starts slowing down after the age of 40. So eating the same quantities and types of food that a person ate in his young age is not possible. And even if a person does he/she tends to gain weight.
2. Loss of taste and appetite: with age a person’s sense of taste diminishes. So the person either chooses to garnish his/her food more or doesn’t feel like eating. And the appetite is also lost with time because of the slow metabolism.
3. Improper digestion: in the process of getting an older a lot of changes take place in the digestive system. As a result of which a person produces less amount of saliva and digestive acids. This makes it difficult for the body to digest certain vitamins and minerals. And hence leading to digestive problems.
4. Health issues: sometimes medicines and illness also have a negative affect on the appetite. A person should talk to his physician to overcome this problem.
5. Low activity level: with old age physical activity level starts coming down. Seniors often cut back on activity for physical and medical reasons. And when the body doesn’t exercise it doesn’t feel hungry.
6. Emotional reasons: loneliness and depression can also affect a person’s appetite and the diet. Sometimes seniors don’t eat just because they don’t want to eat alone. Feeling depressed also leads to loss of appetite and sometimes it leads to overeating.
Senior citizens need to overcome all these problems to have a healthy and golden old age. Some help from the family members and a good physician can help the senior come out of these problems. These days even Elder day care companies arrange for services like cooking, taking out to meals and provide company.
The healthy diet of old age must have
1. Reduced amount of sodium (salt) to help prevent water retention and high blood pressure.
2. Reduced fat intake in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels
3. More amount of calcium and vitamin D for bone health
4. More fiber-rich foods(roughage like fruits, salads etc) to prevent constipation
5. Reduced intake of sugar and dry foods
6. Must contain the recommended amount of important vitamins and minerals
7. Increased water intake
8. Regular physical activity