Old age is best defined as the age of retirement that is, 60 years and above. Improvement in health care technology has resulted in increased life expectancy.
Population of senior Citizen has been increased significantly. Adequate nutrition and a well balanced diet are of vital importance during old age, so as to prevent and control common hazards of ageing. With the help of good nutrition, one can enjoy later years of his life also. This will lead to healthy, purposeful and independent living.
21 Ways To Stay Healthy In Old Age
The process of ageing brings about physiological, psychological and immunological changes which influence nutritional requirements. Here are 21 ways which will help you to choose right food.
- Soft, well cooked, easily chewable foods are preferred. This is due to the fact that elderly suffer from weight loss of teeth or wear dentures.
- Fried and concentrated foods should be avoided like cakes, pastries, ice-cream, pudding, puries, samosa, etc.
- Caffeine containing beverages are not good as it may cause insomnia.
- High fiber diet like green leafy vegetables and whole grain cereals should be included in the diet. These are helpful in prevention of constipation which is a common problem during old age.
- Plenty of fluids and semisolid foods should be taken. 8 to 10 glasses of water is necessary. Other liquid diets can also be added like, fruit juices, sweet and salted buttermilk, coconut water, soups etc. The kidney can function more adequately when there is sufficient fluid, and hence to eliminate the waste solids.
- Excess salt intake should be avoided. Don’t use table salt like in salads and chat.
- Empty calorie foods like carbonated beverages, fast foods should be taken in minimum amount and calorie dense foods should be avoided.
- 2 to 3 servings of low fat milk or milk products should be included in the diet.
- Tobacco chewing, smoking and betel leaves chewing are the habits which may affect food consumption in the elderly.
- Easily digestible steamed foods like, ildi, dhokla, khandvi can be a part of diet.
- Fat promotes weight gain. So fat, particularly saturated fat should be limited.
- Whole pulses like, rajma, whole masoor dal, whole green gram dal, whole Bengal gram dal (chole and chana) may produce flatulence and constipation. Hence these pulses should be avoided.
- Vegetable and fruits are good source of antioxidants. It should be taken minimum five times daily.
- Foods rich in vitamin and mineral should be included in diet to strength immune system and tissue growth.
- Glass of hot milk just before going to bed is good. It is an important tip as it covers both nutrition part as well as health part.
- Reduce salt intake to control blood pressure, which is a most common problem in old age.
- In spite of tea and coffee and cola beverages, prefer green tea. It is a healthier option and rich in antioxidants also.
- Four or five smaller meals are often most acceptable than three substantial ones.
- The food for the elderly should be colorful, attractive and tasty and it should be served in pleasant surroundings so as to assure their appetite and interest in the food.
- The most important way to stay healthy in old age is to provide meals and snacks that are nutrient dense, visually appealing, tasteful and of the appropriate consistency.
- Mild physical activity, recreation and entertainment are good to avoid worries and monotony and to help in maintaining normal health.