Ageing and Nutrition : Live an active life with healthy diet preserving independence into old age
By Nmami Agarwal
As you age, your needs for nutrition increase. The body goes into the degenerative mode. You suffer from low immunity, poor digestion, weak bones, muscles and fatigue. Women undergo menopause and calcium deficiency due to the sudden withdrawal of hormones.
The activity of the body reduces and you may be a victim of metabolic disorders like diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, 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. Growing old is compulsory and nature calls for it, but let’s do it the right way bidding off infections and illnesses:
- Aim for four or five servings of fruits and vegetables. They are packed with important nutrients to help you stay healthy.
- Use less salt. Too much salt in the diet can contribute to high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke or heart disease.
- Keep your bones healthy by having three servings of low-fat dairy foods (milk, yoghurt, paneer, curd etc) each day. Dairy foods with calcium and vitamin D are even better. Look out for these in the supermarkets as fortified foods.
- Stay hydrated. Among other things, dehydration causes dizziness, tiredness and constipation. Get plenty of fluids (soups, shakes, beverages, smoothies) to keep you on board each day.
- Eat fibre rich foods to help bowel move regularly, lowering the risk of constipation. Include them in the form of fruits and vegetables, beans, oats, wheat flakes etc to lower risk of heart disease, obesity and some cancers.
- Food cooked should be soft and easy to chew, in case there have been teeth extractions or dentures are being used. Aim for fruit gruels, porridges, vegetable-based preparations such as spinach khichdi, broccoli almond soup etc.
- Stew or grate fruits and vegetables which are hard to chew such as apple, carrots etc but don’t loose on the important nutrients preserved in them.
- Vegetable soups without cream and thickening agents are a healthy meal to be taken as a supper.
- Include foods rich in vitamin C (oranges, lemon, amla, cauliflower etc) and vitamin E (almonds, wheat bran, spinach, avocado etc) to delay those wrinkled and sagging skin.
Over to you :
The requirement of vitamins, protein, minerals, fluids and carbohydrates changes in old age. Your body undergoes transformations like greying and falling of hair, reduced skin tone, susceptibility to colds and coughs and lack of energy. With right nutritional modifications you can definitely prove the saying right that “Age is just a number”.
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