Ageing is inevitable, irreversible and progressive. What’s more is that it brings along many changes to the bodily functions and affects most organs.
Nutrition has a great role to play in healthy ageing, says Dr Aastha, Head Clinical Nutrition, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Mohali.
“People face several health issues due to age and lack of adequate nutrition can add to the severity of the situation. Therefore, proper nutrient intake is essential for people. As nutrient requirement of people changes with age, one must know what to eat and what not to, based on the condition of their body,” she said.
Few factors that might lead to reduced food intake after one hits 50 are: Loss of appetite, decreased sense of taste and/or smell, difficulty chewing and/or swallowing, loss of physical strength or mobility, chronic conditions and medication, mental and emotional factors, financial insecurity.
Some do’s and don’ts for people of age 50 years and above:
- Adopt easy-to-digest, easy-to-absorb, small frequent meals.
- Limit sugars, sweet beverages, undiluted juices, prefer fruits
- Add plenty of fluids to your diet as they keep you hydrated and boost digestion
- Replace refined cereals and grains with whole grain cereals and pulses
- The fibre composition in diet should be moderate
- Limit sedentary lifestyle – be physically active
- Two-three servings of seasonal fruits should be included every day’s meal
- Add onion, ginger, garlic, lemon, cumin seeds, carom seeds, fenugreek seeds, almonds, walnuts, coconut water in diet as these are good for muscular flexibility, prevent water retention and swelling and also contribute to maintain healthy blood pressure.
Busting a few myths about ageing and nutrition:
- There is no reason for avoiding proteins in this age, as proteins are essential for tissue repair, avoiding pulses at night is an additional myth.
- Salt needs to restricted only when one is hypertensive or has serum sodium levels on the higher side.
- Cottage cheese does not have cholesterol if it is made from toned milk and is a very healthy option.
- Saturated fats need not be eliminated totally from diet, unless one has a heart block or hypercholesterolemia.
- Consumption of milk post dinner is just fine provided it’s not taken too late.
- Reducing number of meals beyond 3 is way more harmful, so one must target 3 major meals and 2 minor meals to keep metabolism going.
- Eating healthily, combined with regular physical activity, can help a person live a full active life.
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