As you age, nutritional needs change to cope up with the body’s degenerative mode. The cells and tissues grow at a slower pace, but repair at a higher rate. You experience a wide range of issues from poor immunity, improper digestion, fragile bones and muscles and fatigue. Physical activity reduces remarkably and you may be prone to metabolic disorders like diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, etc.
All this force you to eat less, but eating the food becomes more important. If you are a senior citizen, here’s what you need to be mindful of:
- Carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and fluid needs changes in old age.
- Nutrients to be provided in easy-to-digest and absorb forms.
- Small frequent meals which are spread out and spaced well over the day.
- Soft cooked foods in an easy-to-chew form helps if dentures are being used.
1. Fill up your plate with colourful veggie and fruits. Two to three servings of vegetables, 1-2 fruits a day will function as antioxidants and prevent constipation.
2. Two-three egg whites in a week is a good source of protein, vital for repair of worn out cells and tissues. For vegetarians, paneer and curd made from low-fat milk are good alternatives.
3. Regularising meal pattern with small frequent meals (6-7) in a day assists digestion, absorption and prevents fatigue.
4. Wise-use of oils such as gingelly oil, groundnut oil, mustard oil and olive oils for cooking helps prevent high cholesterol and improves good cholesterol.
5. Prefer whole grains such as quinoa, finger millet, brown rice, steel cut oats over the white refined ones.
6. Limit processed foods with added preservatives.
7. Always carry a few healthy snacks in your bag, to ensure your energy levels don’t drop.
8. Help yourself to foods rich in Vitamin B12, (fortified cereals), Vitamin D (fish & fortified cereals), and potassium (bananas, fenugreek, coconut water) as these nutrients are very vital for the brain, nervous system, reduce the risk of fractures and to keep up the electrolyte balance.
9. Drink about 8 glasses of water in a day to maintain hydration.
10. Be physically active and do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as walking or gardening every week.
We can ensure that golden years are truly golden by following simple modifications related to nutrition and physical activity. It’s not how old you are, but how well you age which is the real sign of a life well lived.