Understanding the quality of the dietary needs in the elderly
Aging somehow affects a person’s dietary needs in so many ways. According to the workshop summary of the Institute of Medicine (US) Food Forum, the increasing and expanding the population of older adults has experienced noteworthy changes in dietary needs and nutrition along with them being more vulnerable to various foodborne illnesses and health complications.
The experts of Dignity Home Care, Inc., a trusted source of non-medical home care in Farnam Street Omaha NE, and nutrition researchers all agree that understanding “what really matters to consumers” is a growing concern especially for the older demographic. Today, you will learn and hopefully, have a deeper understanding of the importance of the dietary needs of the elderly.
Older people become less active given that they only have lesser activities than they were younger. With lesser activities comes with a slower metabolism and then the energy requirement decreases as well. Bottom line, older people eat less.
The physiological aspect, as suggested earlier, has something to do with this. Older people often have less efficient capabilities to absorb and utilize several nutrients they need every day, when in fact, their nutrient requirements actually increase. Also, most seniors also take multiple drugs and the drug-nutrient interactions sometimes lead to nutrient wasting—B vitamins.
So, Dignity Home Care, Inc. simply puts it down this prevalent and existent dilemma – they need more nutrients but the lesser quantity of foods. As the most preferred source of non-medical home care in Farnam Street Omaha NE, we emphasize on your elderly loved ones’ diet quality because of a “nutrient-dense” diet is critically important for them.
Experts affirm that diet quality can affect the physical and cognitive condition, eye and bone health, heart and brain functions, and the immune system. But then again, an older person’s quality constantly faces inevitable challenges such as loss of appetite, changes in smell and taste, oral health decline, reduced ability to swallow, mobility constraints, and low income. These factors can limit the food choices and intake of nutritious foods and can make it difficult for them to lift heavy jars, shop for food, and open containers, etc.
According to the Baltimore Longitudinal Study on Aging, they have identified five eating patterns—white bread, healthy, meat, alcohol, and sweets. One example of how these eating patterns affect older people is that the “white bread” group has a greater increase in weight circumference than the “healthy group”.
Now, let’s take a look at the macronutrient perspective during aging. A nutrition expert from the Jean Mayer USDA HNRCA at Tufts University, Katherine Tucker, emphasized that dietary fiber is known to be vital for protection and maintenance against intestinal health problems, heart diseases, and other metabolic conditions.
For example, higher intakes of omega-3 fatty acids have shown stronger protection from several health problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular events, and cognitive decline. However, at present, omega-3 fatty acids are very inadequate in the standard diet and it is still unclear whether supplements can give off the same benefits.
You should always remember that the body requires different nutrients, vitamins, and minerals which are vital for both preventing disease and overall well-being. However, nutritional deficiency is strikingly high among older people. The most necessary nutrients that are often lost in the body are:
- Iron – makes your red blood cells; found in dark leafy greens, egg yolks, and red meat
- Magnesium & Potassium – maintains bone health
- Vitamin A – crucial for eye health, reproductive health, and the immune systems; found in milk, eggs, green/orange/reddish-yellow fruits and vegetables
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – important nutrient for the nervous system; found in breakfast cereals and grain products and pork
- Vitamin B3 – helps body convert food into energy; found in most proteins
- Vitamin B12 – imperative for bone density, balance, cognitive and physical functions
- Vitamin D – important for brain functions and chronic conditions; found in exposure to the sunlight
- Calcium – for teeth and bones strength, nerve, muscles, and heart functions; found in milk, cheese, small fish with bones, yogurt
Call Dignity Home Care, Inc., a steadfast provider of non-medical home care in Farnam Street Omaha NE, today for assistance in ensuring your loved ones has the good dietary intake!