A good food habit comes a lot cheaper than a handful of medicines; if someone doesn’t believe in the above mentioned sentence then he should have known the proverb- prevention is better than cure. Just like the machines, our body is also worn out with the passing time which we usually call as aging. If old machines aren’t oiled properly then they aren’t expected to work the way they used to do, in the same way if we don’t put emphasis on our food habits then we can’t expect our body to behave normally while it deals with the changes that come along with aging. Though it is not mandatory that people must be concerned about their dietary plans only when they realize that they are aging, nutrition is such a department, which affects all age groups and every individual.
Healthy nutrition is most commonly referred as Balanced diet. It is the one that provides our body with all the beneficiaries, which are required for the appropriate functioning of the body. The most important aspect of a balanced diet is its ability to improve body’s immune system. The body’s defense mechanism gets weaker day by day as a person approaches the aging process; therefore, it is very important to support the immune system by having a proper diet. A proper diet must include fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, diary and oils in an appropriate amount.
With the aging, there are some substantial changes that come to our body which usually triggers the need of altering the food pattern among older people. Since the older people aren’t physically much active and their body’s metabolism also slows down therefore they need to eat less but their nutritional requirements must be fulfilled appropriately. As time goes by their body’s ability to absorb and consume some of the many nutrients becomes less, which finally leads to body’s higher requirement for those nutrients.
Aging results to various challenges that the body needs to face, such problems are easy to handle only if one maintains a healthy food habit. One of the most common problems is extreme or fluctuating blood pressure, which can be mitigated by adopting a proper food habit. It has been seen that most of the older people suffer from hypertension and other stress related problems, which can also be controlled by having a healthy and a planned diet. Life after a certain age gets very much dependent on the food that a person takes. To fight against the malfunctions, which are, caused by the body during aging needs a noteworthy attention towards the body.
Older people are mostly recommended to eat all types of food, especially those which are having significant nutritional value in them like; Protein, Fiber, Fat, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12.
Protein: The amount of protein that should be added to the diet of an older person is not too much specific but rather it is more of a controversial point. Some experts say that higher amount of protein in the diet can lead to kidney failure due to a compromised renal function in the body while some other say that it is important to have a reasonably high amount to protein for a better nitrogen balance in the body and a proper insulin level. It is seen that men need comparatively less amount of protein than women after the age of 50. Protein can be found in meat, fish, milk and other dairy products, egg, seeds, etc.
Fiber and Fat: Fibers play an important role in upholding a good intestinal condition and shielding against the heart problems among older people. People who consume Omega-3 fatty acid (which is a polyunsaturated acid) in their diet have lower risk of cardiovascular disorders and diabetes. In a standard diet one can hardly get abundance of fatty acids since these can only be found in fatty fish such as Salmon, fish oil, walnuts, soybeans and flax seeds. Flax seeds lower the cholesterol level in the body, which proves to be highly beneficial for older people. Eggs also contain omega-3 fatty acids but people having cholesterol problem should consult an expert before adding them in their regular diet.
As the good fats are always welcomed, on contrary the bad fats are something that must be curtailed. Trans fats and saturated fats are those type of fats which are commonly referred as unhealthy and harmful fats. The food containing this type of fats is the foulest thing that can be eaten by any older person. It lowers the good cholesterol in our body and significantly raises the bad cholesterol level which absolutely acts as poison for older people.
Diabetes (type 2) and various heart diseases most commonly stroke is caused by the trans fats. Some of the foods that contain trans fats are fast foods, fried foods, pastries, cookies, etc. Consuming these foods belongs to a bad food habit and should definitely be avoided. On the other hand, Saturated fat is not that much of destruction. Obviously, it also falls under the category of bad fat but unlike trans fats all the saturated fats don’t show negative effects on the body. Examples of the food that contain saturated fats are beef, pork, lamb, dairy products, etc. One should also avoid consuming saturated fats on a regular basis.
Calcium and vitamin D: Older people have the tendency of losing bone density, which results to osteoporosis. This can be resolved by maintaining an adequate amount of calcium and vitamin D in their regular diet. Another important aspect of calcium is that it helps the heart muscles to be active and healthy. Calcium can be found in milk and milk products, yogurt, canned fish and green leafy vegetables. Sometimes older people are advised to take calcium supplements, which also contain vitamin D to keep their bones healthy.
Vitamin B6: Lack of this type of vitamin results to skin problems and complexity in the immune system. It is also associated to other disorders like confusion and depression. Vitamin B6 helps the body to convert the consumed food into energy. Sources of this type of vitamin are fish, potatoes, poultry and certain types of non-citric fruits.
Vitamin B12: This type of vitamin helps to control our nervous system. Though some older people are regularly fed with vitamin B12, they are always found with less amount of it in their body and this is solely because of the shrink in stomach’s acidity level that comes with aging. Lack of vitamin B12 results in problem with balancing and in the worst case it results to physical disability. It often leads to anemia and confusion. Only meat and dairy products contain this type of vitamin.
Therefore, it is seen that most of the older people if fed with proper balance diet can combat age related problems with much ease. Nutrition and aging are the two terms which when pronounced together results in variety questions and answers whose accuracy is still not correctly known by the medical science. Every day a new research is taking place, which is driven by a new study. Therefore, one must keep himself updated with the latest information regarding these so that he can foresee a better future for himself as well as for his loved ones.
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