Vital nutrition tips for seniors

2017-07-04 06:00
Preparing meals that are rich in nutrients.Photo: supplied

Preparing meals that are rich in nutrients.Photo: supplied

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

AS people age, their diets may need to change, especially if their diets are not well-balanced.
Generally, doctors will recommend a well-balanced diet for older adults, meaning that they should eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins and whole grains to maintain and improve overall health.

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
The acids have been proven to reduce inflammation, which can cause heart disease, cancer and arthritis.
They can be found in flaxseeds and flaxseed oil, walnuts, canola oil, and different types of fish.
Your older relative should have foods rich in this nutrient twice per week. If this is impossible, check with their doctor to see if an Omega 3 supplement would be beneficial.

CALCIUM  
The need for calcium increases as people age. This is primarily to preserve bone health. One added benefit of calcium is that it helps to lower blood pressure.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends that adults over the age of 50 get at least 1200 milligrams per day of calcium – equal to about four cups of fortified orange juice, dairy milk, or fortified non-dairy milks such as almond or soy. Leafy greens like kale and turnip greens are also great sources of absorbable calcium.
Many people find it challenging to consume this much calcium per day by eating and drinking, so check with your loved one's doctor to see if he or she should take a calcium supplement. For those with hypertension (high blood pressure) one of the most important things caregivers can do to help reduce a loved one's hypertension is to prepare foods that are low in sodium.
Most people are surprised to find out that added table salt accounts for only a small percent of sodium content in food. Frozen, processed and restaurant foods are typically extremely high in sodium, and should be avoided or only be a very small part of the diet.
Fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, dry beans, unsalted nuts and nut butters, and grains like brown rice and oats are all foods that are naturally low in sodium, so try and incorporate them as much as possible in their diet.

As people age, they do not get thirsty very often, even though their bodies still need the same amount of liquids.
If you notice that your loved one is not drinking liquids very often, make sure that you provide them with it.
If they do not feel thirsty, chances are they may not think about drinking a glass of water.If you are concerned that your loved one may not be properly hydrated, check his or her urine.
Urine is the surest sign of hydration or lack of it. If their urine is clear and light, then they are most likely properly hydrated.
If, however, their urine is dark and/or cloudy, they will need to start drinking more liquids.
Making dietary changes can be difficult for anybody. It can be especially difficult for older adults, though, because people get stuck in habits.
If your loved one needs to make dietary changes to increase their health and well-being, there are specific things that you, the caregiver, can do to help with the change.
Frechman recommends three important areas in which caregivers can help.

INCORPORATE CHANGES GRADUALLY

Older people are usually skeptical of change. They need to make small changes gradually.
As the caregiver, you should reinforce this and make sure that your loved one is incorporating the new foods into their diet. For example, if your parent is diabetic and needs to adjust their carbohydrate intake consistency, incorporate oatmeal as breakfast once or twice per week.
As they get used to it, oatmeal can be added to three to four times per week.
If your parent normally eats white bread, give them a wheat bread sandwich a couple times per week, and gradually increase it so that white bread is completely cut out of their diet.

SET AN EXAMPLE

When an older adult has to change their diet for health reasons, they can feel singled out.
Eating is a social activity and it is important to eat meals with your loved one. It is equally important that when you eat with them, you eat the same foods as them.
When sitting down for a family meal, don't make a special meal for your aging loved one and something different for everybody else.
By eating with them and eating the same foods as them, the dietary changes being made won't seem so drastic.

MAKE SMOOTHIES

Sometimes older adults simply refuse to make necessary nutritional changes, even if they are doctor recommended.
People with dementia, especially, may refuse to eat certain things. Be creative. If your loved one needs protein, try making them a smoothie with wheat germ.
Wheat germ is not a supplement that may interact with prescription medications, but an actual food with very high amounts of protein.
Sometimes, foods can be blended into a smoothie to ensure that your loved one consumes the necessary nutrients.

-EMILEE SELTZER(Sourced)

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
ADVERTORIAL
Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.

/World
 

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:

 
 

You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.