The best diet for the elderly
The best diet for older people is a balanced diet. The balance of this diet focuses on the appropriate input of all nutrients. A diet that provides the suitable fats, carbohydrates, proteins and minerals.
A varied diet should include different foods from each of these groups so that among them they are complemented and able to replace the particular deficiencies.
The following table shows what would be an ideal contribution by food groups
|Ideal diet for the people majors|
|Needed food||Daily amount||Rations|
|Fruits||2 to 3 meals a day (a citrus fruit at least once every day or other food rich in vitamin C, such as raspberries and peppers)||Eight servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Especially, take them to lunch and tea. It is considered as one serving:
– 1 medium piece of fruit or vegetables
– ¾ cup juice
– 1 cup of raw vegetables
– Half cup of fruit, vegetables or cooked vegetables.
|Vegetables||2 meals daily, one in the morning and one in the evening. A dark green leafy vegetables at least daily (spinach, lettuce, cabbage)|
|Legumes||5 weekly meals.||A serving is:
– ½ cup. 100 gr. at least
|Carbohydrates||6 daily servings of foods that contain hydrates (bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes, etc)||A serving is:
– 1 slice of bread
– Half cup rice
– 2 medium potatoes
|Dairy products||3 daily rations of skimmed dairy products (skimmed milk, skimmed yogurts, cheeses, etc.)||A serving is:
– 230 gr. of milk or yogurt
– 30 gr. of cheese
|Protein||1 serving at lunch and another at dinner (eggs, fish, lean meat) eating a broiled fish at least twice a week. Eating more than three servings of lean meat per week.||A serving is:
– 1 egg
– 90 gr. of thin meat or fish
|Fats||3-5 daily servings. Mainly in the form of Olive oil.||A serving is:
– 2 teaspoons of olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of margarine, butter, mayonnaise
– ½cup of ice cream
Recommended foods to feed the elderly
A diet high in antioxidants will help to preserve us better.
This diet rich in antioxidants is especially necessary for older people who are immersed in the process of aging. A diet rich in these foods help to stop the negative impact that free radicals have on the elderly.
Among these foods we have:
– Carotenoids: Precursors of vitamin A. (See vitamin A) Betacarotene is a carotenoid.This is a plant pigment that, once ingested, turns into the liver and small intestine in vitamin A. It is a very important antioxidant component.
– Vitamin C: This is another important antioxidant. It is found mainly in fruits and vegetables. Among the main foods rich in this vitamin, we have, for example, peppers, one of the world’s plants that as more quantity, after the Barbados cherry (Malpighia glabra L) or dog rose (Rosa canina). Also citruses are very rich in it (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc.).
– Vitamin E: It protects cell membranes from oxidation by protecting its fatty acids. A lack of this vitamin appears to be produced by degenerative changes in the cells of some tissues such as muscle and heart.
Vegetables and green vegetables, as well as the rich oil vegetables, are those that have more amount of this vitamin, such as, for example, purslane, asparagus, lettuce, peas, walnuts, wheat germ or sunflower seeds, that are those that have the highest content.
– Flavonoids: polyphenolic compounds are displayed in fruits and vegetables and some beverages, like tea, beer or wine. Among these compounds the most important is the quercetin found in many plant foods such as garlic, onion, apple, cabbage, pear, spinach. Other important flavonoids would be genistein of soybean, rutin of citruses (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, tea) or polyphenols among which epigallocatechin gallate stands out.
– Selenium: Besides protecting the heart, favoring the immune system or removing heavy metals from the body, aids in the protection of numerous cancers, including colon, prostate or lungs. Selenium-rich foods include: oats, brown rice, peaches.
Foods especially recommended in the diet of the elderly
The main foods are those rich in antioxidant compounds. Among the antioxidants, we need to highlight some foods particularly high antioxidant properties and should not be missing from the table of the elderly. Among them we mention the following:
– Berries:The black or dark reddish purple colour of these foods indicate its richness in antioxidants. Raspberries stand out especially, but also blackberries or bilberries can be included in this section.
– Cabagge family : Within this family, the Brassicaceae group is the one that contains most antioxidant properties. To this group cabbage,cauliflower, broccoli or any type of cabbage belongs.
– Tomatoes: The tomatoes are rich in glutathione and beta-carotene, two powerful antioxidants. They should not be missing from a healthy table.
– Carrots: Carrots are rich in vitamin C and beta carotene. They help maintain the appearance of younger skin and preserve one’s sight.
– Grapes: The black grape contains a flavonoid called resveratrol that is a major detox.
– Lemons: Lemon is an excellent cleanser, protects the circulatory system and prevents us from respiratory diseases. Its richness in vitamin C sets it as one of the best antioxidants.
Diet tips for seniors
In addition to using a varied diet with adequate food, a number of tips for feeding the elderly must be taken into account:
– Get adequate hydration: Adequate intake of water is very important for health. Water constitutes 60% of our body. The importance of water lies primarily in its ability to draw out toxins from our body, in its necessary involvement in the oxygenation of the cells or their conservation.
A lack of water can lead to apparent signs of aging such as wrinkles or sagging body. For proper hydration, people should drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. We must take into account not only water quantity but also water quality. Pure water, free of contaminants, is the only one that can guarantee good health.
– Perform moderate meals, not excessive and frequent: One’s diet should not be excessive. It is best to leave the table with the feeling of not being completely filled to overeat. The great feasts should be replaced by smaller, more frequent meals. Ideally, make 6 or 7 meals a day.
– Eat fresh vegetables: Most vitamins and other nutrients are damaged by heat or by contact with air. A good way to avoid this is to eat the most servings of raw vegetables or cooking to reduce the maximum.
The slogan “5 a day” conducted in some communities or nations shows the importance of eating 5 servings of fruits or vegetables a day as a way to encourage consumption of these foods. These campaigns will focus mainly on children aiming to create good habits, so that young people learn these foods are needed to prevent many future illnesses and get a longer life expectancy and better conditions. The proposed slogan for young people is also useful for the elderly.
– Make easy to digest and swallow meals. The lack of saliva and digestive acids complicates the task of swallowing and digestion becomes more difficult in the elderly. Thus it should be noted that food prepared for older people should be soft and should be easily digestible.
– Varied, attractive and flavorful meals: The decreased sense of smell and taste in elder people makes it necessary to give a special interest in the presentation of their meals, so that they can be attractive and varied. Not much salt should be added to food. In place of salt, to enhance the taste and smell, aromatic spices and herbs can be used.
– Avoid eating cooked or processed foods: These, in addition of having too much sodium or sugar, usually contain preservatives and dyes that are harmful to health.
– Avoid or reduce the consumption of sweets: candies, ice cream, cookies, pasta.. only provide empty calories, contribute to obesity and dental caries. One way to flavor foods without having to use salt or sugar is to use spices. Some of them, such as anise or cinnamon, taste very sweet. so that it is not necessary to ad sugar.
– Avoid the excess of saturated fats, or fried smoked food. All of them are a health risk, so the intake of these foods should be minimal. One way to avoid saturated fats is using them sparingly. Use olive oil instead. Among the fats that we are not very good we could mention butter, mayonnaise, margarine, cream, sauces or fats containing many packaged products.
– Moderate the excess of wine, beer or alcohol: Alcohol is responsible for most deaths in young people after tobacco. Wine, drunk in moderation, can help improve cardiovascular health, however black grapes have also similar properties and they do not contain alcohol. Consumption of alcohol is very dangerous and one can easily pass the “safe dose.” If drinking wine or beer, do not exceed a daily ration (for women) or two servings a day (for men). It is considered that a serving of wine is 170 grams and a serving of beer, 280 gr.
More information on the aging and its natural treatment in the listing above