Diet for Elderly People - Seniors Health
Elderly Diet and Fiber
As the body ages, the gastrointestinal tract changes and people tend to develop more problems with constipation. A high-fiber diet can prevent that, but many elderly people, especially those with dentures, do not want to eat the seed-filled or crunchy food that is typically high in fiber. They instead go for soft, slippery food that is easily chewed, but is often high in fat.
Cooked or baked vegetables, fresh fruit and high-fiber breakfast cereals are some denture-friendly ways to get fiber in the diet. Beans and black-eyed peas are also nutritious and inexpensive.
Elderly Diet and Fluids
It's important to drink lots of fluids, despite the risk of a leak. The elderly have decreased thirst and often do not get enough fluids in their diet as a result. Getting plenty of fluids helps prevent constipation. The fiber nutritionists recommend is more effective in decreasing constipation when fluids are taken generously. Milk, tea, coffee, soda, ice cream and soup all count as fluids.
Elderly Diet Should Be Combined With Exercise
Get more physical, not less. The amount of exercise needed depends on the person, but in general, people need to step up their activity as they get older. Elderly people often do the opposite, because of bad knees or arthritis. Instead of becoming guarded, they need to walk, bicycle, swim, garden and find other ways to stay on the move.
Elderly Diet and Supplements
60 percent of the elderly use supplements, a percentage that is rising. But nutrition scientists are constantly finding new healthy components in real food that provide benefits like lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer. These components have not been duplicated in pill form.
SOURCE: Valentina Remig, Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition at Kansas State University.
Elderly People and Calorie Needs
As we age, our calorie needs decrease due to a drop in muscle strength from taking less physical activity. However, vitamin and mineral needs may stay the same or even increase if the body absorbs them less efficiently.
Average Calorie Needs Throughout Life
Note: These are average values only. Heavier or more active people may need more.
Foods to Include for Optimum Health
Nuts and Seeds
Pulses and Grains for Fiber
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