A good diet for older adults

A good diet is fundamental in each of the stages of our life from childhood to old age. The basic aspects of a diet are the same throughout our lives, but the individual nutritional needs change as we get older. In addition, the correct absorption of food can be affected by some disease .

Older adults need the same nutrients (proteins , carbohydrates, fats, vitamins , minerals) than young people, but in different amounts. Some may be more necessary than others. In addition, for older adults, fiber It is essential to improve digestion and prevent constipation.

As we age, we require less energy (calories ) that when we were young This is because the body's natural processes require less energy when physical activity decreases and there is less muscle mass.

Although caloric requirements vary according to age and activity level, an older adult requires around 1,600 calories daily. These must be chosen carefully trying to provide the necessary nutrients. The recommendation is to divide the 1,600 calories in portions of each of the groups included in the nutritional pyramid:

  1. Bread and cereals: six servings
  2. Vegetables: three portions
  3. Fruits: two servings
  4. Milk and its derivatives: two portions
  5. Protein: two portions
  6. Fats: Use sparingly

Meanwhile, older adults need to include two servings or 90 grams of protein daily in their diet . Some options are meat, chicken, fish and if these are difficult to chew can be replaced by eggs or beans.

In addition, as we get older, our calcium requirements increase. To maintain bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis the recommendations of calcium they should be increased by 20%.

Both men and women over 50 should consume at least 1,200 mg. of calcium a day. Milk and its derivatives (cheese, cream, yogurt) are the best sources of calcium , like green leafy vegetables and sardines.

It is never too late to consume more calcium, although it is also necessary to consume enough vitamin D to be able to absorb it and perform at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.

The deficiency of iron It is a common problem as we get older and this usually causes anemia, whose symptoms are weakness, fatigue and deterioration of health. The vitamin C, contained in citrus fruits, helps our body to absorb iron from the foods that contain it. It is also an excellent antioxidant it contributes to delay the process of deterioration of the organism.

Experts recommend daily consumption of between 20 and 35 grams of fiber (for an adult) to improve the movement of the digestive tract, moderate changes in sugar and cholesterol in the blood that occur after meals and increase the elimination of carcinogenic substances produced by bacteria in the large intestine. It is found mainly in whole grains, some fruits and vegetables.

The vitamin A contained in green leafy vegetables and those yellow and orange, helps the eyes adapt to a dim light, protects our skin , as well as others tissues .

The folic acid participates in the formation of red blood cells and its lack can cause anemia . It contains green leafy vegetables, some fruits, beans and enriched grain products.

The vitamin B12 participates with folates in the preparation of Red blood cells; the absence of this causes anemia and in some cases it is related to neurological problems. Meat, fish, chicken, eggs and dairy products are a good source.

Zinc helps the body fight infections and to repair the tissues sick. Its main sources are: meat, seafood, grain products and milk.

Older adults need to drink plenty of fluids: 8 to 12 cups per day. Some foods provide liquids, but still it is necessary to take all kinds of drinks, juices, milk, soup, tea or coffee, which can also include other nutrients, without forgetting the best option that is pure water.

Each person is different, so it is advisable to consult with the doctor what their food requirements are for their particular case taking into account their age, health status and the activity they perform daily.


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