Geriatric Nutrition the more we care the more beautiful life becomes

Many of the diseases suffered by older persons are the result of dietary factors, some of which have been operating since infancy. These factors are then compounded by changes that naturally occur with the ageing process.

Degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer, are among the most common diseases affecting older persons, are all diet-affected. Micronutrient deficiencies are often common in elderly people due to a number of factors such as their reduced food intake and a lack of variety in the foods they eat.

Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Every season of life brings changes and adjustments to your body. Understanding what is happening will help you take control of your nutrition requirements.

Physical Changes

Metabolism. Every year over the age of forty, our metabolism slows, and often we become less physically active. This makes it even more important to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits to avoid weight gain.

Weakened senses. Older adults tend to lose sensitivity to salty and bitter tastes first, so you may be inclined to salt your food more heavily than before—even though older adults need less salt than younger people. Use herbs, spices, and healthy oils—like olive oil—to season food instead of salt.

Medications and illness. Some health problems or medications can negatively influence appetite or affect taste, again leading older adults to consume too much sugar or salt. If so, please consult your doctor.

Digestion. Due to a slowing digestive system, you generate less saliva and stomach acid as you get older, making it more difficult for your body to process certain vitamins and minerals, such as B12, B6 and folic acid, which are necessary to maintain mental alertness and good circulation. Up your fiber intake and talk to your doctor about possible supplements.

"Your body is the biggest investment you will make," Michael Kenneth.

Lifestyle Changes

Loneliness and depression. For some, feeling down leads to not eating and in others it may trigger overeating. Sharing meals with others can also be an effective antidote to loneliness. Cooking with others can be a fun way to try out new recipes and deepen relationships.

Death or divorce. If you’re newly single, you may not be used to cooking or have little enthusiasm for preparing meals for just yourself. However, cooking your own meals can help you take charge of your health. The key to cooking for one is to master a few basic skills and get creative in making meals that work specifically for you.

Living on a limited budget. With the right tips and a little planning, it is possible to enjoy healthy food on the cheap. Often, by simply cutting out junk and processed foods, you can free up enough in your budget to enjoy healthier, better quality food.

Malnutrition is a critical health issue among older adults caused by eating too little food, too few nutrients, and by digestive problems related to aging. Malnutrition causes fatigue, depression, weak immune system, anemia, weakness, digestive, lung, and heart problems.
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The key to healthy eating is to focus on the whole, minimally processed food that your body needs as you age, food that is as close to its natural form as possible. Our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors, so finding the healthy diet that works best for you may take some experimentation.

Creating A Healthy Diet

Fruit – Break the apple and banana rut and go for color-rich pickings like berries or melons. Aim for 2-3 servings a day. Fruits provide essential vitamins and anti-oxidants that aid in all body functions.

Vegetables – Choose antioxidant-rich dark, leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli as well as colorful vegetables such as carrots and squash,. Try for 2-3 cups every day.

Calcium – Maintaining bone health as you age depends on adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults need 1,200 mg of calcium a day through servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy sources include tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.

Grains – Be smart with your carbs and choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and more fiber. Soluble fibers are for diarrhea patients while insoluble fibers are specially used for constipation situations.

Healthy fats – Because fat is so dense in calories, be smart by choosing poly unsaturated fats and mono unsaturated fats. For example, omega 3 fatty acids have been proven to reduce inflammation, which can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

Protein – Adults over 50 without kidney disease or diabetes need about 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.

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Important vitamin and minerals

Water – As we age, some of us are prone to dehydration because our sense of thirst may not be as sharp. Remember to sip water regularly to avoid urinary tract infections, constipation, and even confusion.

Vitamin B – After the age of 50, your stomach produces less gastric acid making it difficult to absorb vitamin B-12—needed to help keep blood and nerves healthy. Get the recommended daily intake (2.4 mcg) of B12 from fortified foods or a vitamin supplement.

Vitamin D – With age, our skin is less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D, so consult your doctor about supplementing your diet with fortified foods or a multivitamin, especially if you’re obese or have limited sun exposure.

Cut down on sugar and refined carbs

While our senses of taste and smell diminish with age, we retain the ability to distinguish sweet tastes the longest, leading many older people to consume more sugar and refined carbs than is healthy. Unlike complex carbs that are rich in fiber, refined or simple carbs, such as white rice, white flour, refined sugar, can lead to a dramatic spike in blood sugar, followed by a rapid crash which leaves you feeling hungry and prone to overeating.

Reducing the amount of starches, candy, and desserts in your diet is only part of the solution. Sugar is hidden in foods as diverse as canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, frozen dinners, and many foods labelled “reduced fat.” All this hidden sugar contributes zero nutrients but lots of empty calories that can cause mood swings and wreck any healthy diet.

Slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time. You’ll give your taste buds time to adjust and be able to wean yourself off the craving for sweets and sugary food.Instead of adding sugar, increase sweetness of meals by using naturally sweet food such as fruit.

Replace refined carbs with complex carbs such as oatmeal, beans, vegetables, andother high fiber foods. You’ll feel fuller, more satisfied, and have more energy.

Avoid soda and sweetened coffee drinks. One can of soda contains 10-12 teaspoons of sugar and around 150 calories. Even artificial sweetener can trigger sugar cravings that contribute to weight gain. Instead, try switching to carbonated water with lemon or a splash of juice.

Food Guide Pyramid for Elderly Citizens
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Eat more fiber

As you age, your digestion becomes less efficient, so it’s important to include enough fiber in your diet. Women over 50 should aim to eat at least 21 grams of fiber per day, men over 50 at least 30 grams a day. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t getting even half those amounts.

Good sources of fiber include whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes, and fruit.

An easy way to add more fiber to your diet is to start your day with a high-fiber, whole grain cereal. Or try adding unprocessed wheat bran and fresh or dried fruit to your favorite cereal.

Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice. Peeling can reduce the amount of fiber, so try to eat the peel of apples and pears.

Liven up dull salads with nuts, seeds, or beans. You can also make tasty high-fiber additions to soups and stews by adding peas, beans, or lentils.

Overcome obstacles to eating well

Loss of appetite - Check with your doctor to see if your loss of appetite could be due to medication, and whether the medication or dosage can be changed. Try natural flavor enhancers such as olive oil, butter, vinegar, garlic, onions, ginger, and spices to boost your appetite.

Difficulty chewing - Make chewing easier by drinking smoothies made with fresh fruit, yogurt. You may also eat steamed veggies and soft food such as couscous, rice, and yogurt.

Eat steamed veggies and soft food such as couscous, rice, and yogurt. Consult your dentist to make sure your dentures are properly fitted.

Drink 8–10 glasses of water each day. Take a drink of water after each bite of food. Add sauces and salsas to moisten your food.
According to Ruth Frechman, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, in addition to eating a healthful variety of foods, there are specific things a caregiver can incorporate into their their loved one's diet to boost his or her health.
In order to understand the dietary needs of the older adult, it is important to know what the basic requirements of the healthy older adult are . A comprehensive assessment includes a lot more than just the basic nutritional assessment and should take into account the overall physical, mental, and psychosocial status of the person . This will lead to a better understanding of how to realistically meet the nutritional needs of the older adult .
Designed by: Rolan Al Shareef, Dima Al Jarrah, Khalifa Smadi

Supervised by: Dr. Hadil Subih

Created By
Rolan Al Shareef

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