Food and nutrition in the elderly: food and advice

Food for the elderly

Although the life expectancy is increasing, it is true that there are certain diseases that usually appear, for example, when the 60 years , which influences decisively not only in the years we can live, but in the quality of it. In addition, did you know that many of these diseases have to do with the food that has been followed throughout life, and that is also followed during the known as Seniors ?

For this reason, one of the fundamental questions is to try to know what is the best diet that can be followed in the third age, while knowing how a balanced diet should be in this special moment of life.

As we go into years, they are presenting a series of various disorders that tend to affect the diet. One of the most important, for example, is the loss of denture , which tends to hinder the consumption of some foods, especially those of hard consistency.

Precisely for this and other reasons many nutrition experts recommend to develop or modify even the food itself to try to get a soft texture, to facilitate its consumption. To a certain extent, it must be taken into account that the sense of taste diminishes, so that a more colorful presentation of the dishes is necessary, while using spices that help to enhance the flavor of the meals.

How should nutrition be in old age?

Increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes and cereals

Although essential within a healthy, varied and balanced diet, during the third age it is vital to increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and fresh vegetables, which stand out for being especially rich in water, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and also tend to be low in fat and calories.

Nor should we forget about food as essential in food as is the case of cereals and legumes. In the case of cereals, for example, whole grains are recommended, especially rich in fiber, which help improve intestinal transit, maintain adequate intestinal motility and prevent constipation (which usually increases during this age stage).

Vegetables and fruits in old age

Reduction of saturated fats and increase of healthy fats

Although it is appropriate to follow this dietary recommendation at any age, it is certain that during the third age it is even more important, since during these years the risk of cardiovascular disease increases, especially if the levels of fats in the blood are high (cholesterol and triglycerides).

So, it is advisable reduce the consumption of saturated fats that we usually find in foods of animal origin such as red meat and sausages, and increase healthy fats , such as the essential fatty acids omega-3, omega-6 and omega-9.

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

  • Fish: mainly salmon, mackerel and sardine.
  • Nuts: nuts, almonds and hazelnuts.
  • Seeds: flax or linseed seeds.
  • Vegetables: soy.

Foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids:

  • Vegetable oils: Sunflower oil (unrefined sunflower oil is recommended), soybean and corn oil.
  • Eggs .
  • Dairy products: especially enriched milk products.

Foods rich in omega-9 fatty acids:

  • Vegetable oils: olive oil (especially extra virgin olive oil), sunflower, argan and safflower oil.
  • Fruits: especially the avocado.
  • Nuts: almonds, hazelnuts and pistachios.

Nutritional advice for the elderly

Increase the consumption of vegetable fats

At the same time that during the third age it is highly advisable to reduce the consumption of saturated fats, it is recommended increase vegetable fats , which we precisely obtain from the consumption of foods of vegetable origin.

It is mainly recommended for vegetable fats coming from olive oil (if possible extra virgin olive oil), a powerful food that counts in fact with a tremendously prominent position in the healthy -and so well valued- Mediterranean diet. Of course, we should avoid consuming too much, so it is recommended not to exceed 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day.

On the other hand, we must monitor the labeling of certain foods and food products where it is indicated that they contain vegetable oils. The reason is obvious: you should avoid vegetable fats from palm oil or palm kernel oil and coconut oil , because of its high content of saturated fats.

Opting for semi-skimmed or skimmed milk

Dairy products and dairy products are recommended at any stage of life. Particularly, they are especially important during childhood and adolescence thanks to their richness in proteins of good quality and calcium (essential for the development of bones and teeth). And during the third age they are also interesting, precisely because of their nutritive wealth. For example, milk is considered the "most complete" food by many nutritionists.

Of course, it is recommended to avoid whole milk, and replace it with other varieties with less content in saturated fats, as for example is the case of semi-skimmed milk or skimmed milk.

On the other hand, it is also advised increase the consumption of calcium and vitamin D . In fact, these two nutrients are essential since vitamin D helps the correct absorption of calcium. An excellent option, for example, is to increase the consumption of calcium (not only found in calcium, also in nuts such as walnuts and almonds), and to expose the skin to the sun about 30 minutes every day (for example, while you take a walk and practice physical exercise).

The consumption of dairy products in the nutrition of the elderly

Limit the consumption of salt and sugar

It is usual that, in many cases, when a person reaches this stage of age he also does 'accompanied' by a series of pathologies and disorders that are quite usual, such as, for example, the case of diabetes Or the arterial hypertension . And, in addition, it is also common for them to follow a medical treatment based on drugs to control high glucose levels and / or blood pressure.

Therefore, it is extremely appropriate reduce or limit the consumption of salt to avoid unnecessary cardiovascular risks. To achieve this we can avoid adding salt to our dishes and the food we are preparing when we are in the kitchen, and replace the salt with other more natural and healthy options, such as spices or aromatic herbs.

We must also limit the consumption of sugar . And it is not only advisable to limit the consumption of sweets, pastries and cookies. We must also limit the amount of sugar we drink with coffee with milk, the typical cut or tea. The best? Try to get used to the flavor of these popular drinks.

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