In old age many elders suffer from low immunity, poor digestion, fatigue, weak bones and muscles. Activity of the body reduces and the elderly person may become victim of metabolic disorders like diabetes , osteoporosis, arthritis, heart problems, high blood pressure or high cholesterol, etc. All this does not mean that you have to eat less. Eating right becomes more important than eating less.
Requirement of vitamins, proteins, minerals, fluids and carbohydrates changes in old age. And all these nutrients have to be packaged in easy-to-digest and easy-to-absorb, small frequent meals which are spread out and spaced well over the entire day.
Always remember the motto “You are what you eat”
Below are simple tips to help the seniors feel vibrant and healthy, inside and out:
• Ragi or Oats porridge is an excellent breakfast for seniors.
• The sense of smell and taste becomes less acute in old age, but don’t fall into the trap of adding extra salt to your food – use herbs, spices and other flavourings such as garlic, lemon juice, flavoured vinegars or mustard.
• Overcooking of food to make it soft destroys vital nutrients. Rather, select foods which need less time to cook.
• Egg whites are excellent source of protein needed for repair of worn out cells and tissues. For vegetarians, tofu, soya milk, paneer made from low-fat milk is good substitute.
• Sufficient exposure to sunlight is essential to meet the body’s needs for vitamin D, in case of elderly individuals confined to bed; supplements’ of this vitamin should be taken.
• Regular routine of exercise like walking, stretching or yoga to ensure appropriate absorption of nutrients.
• Consume at least 10 to 14 glasses of water in a day to prevent dehydration. In old age, muscle density reduces and susceptibility to dehydration is always very high, especially in summer.
• Add curd or cooked dal to the dough for rotis to improve the biological value of the cereal, and to keep them soft.
• Ready to eat food and processed foods with artificial colours and preservatives should be avoided.
• All meals should be freshly made and consumed. As stale food might hamper the digestion.
• Consume mustard oil or olive oil as cooking medium. As usage of any of these oil prevents high cholesterol and improve good cholesterol in the blood.