Lack of teeth, swallowing problems, constipation … are some of the alterations that occur with age and that force us to change our eating habits. The nutritionist Laura González gives us in El Bisturí a series of tips to follow a healthy diet at this stage of life
When we get older, physiological changes occur that greatly affect nutrition in old age. Mainly, around oral health: decreased saliva flow -which causes dry mouth- and loss of teeth, which reduces chewing efficiency.
On the other hand, changes in the digestive system are also common, such as a decrease in the absorption of nutrients or dysphagia or difficulty swallowing food.
That is why it is necessary to prepare soft-textured diets to achieve safe swallowing, minimizing the risk of choking. Purees, soups, eggs, dairy are recommended …
Osteoporosis is also common at this stage of life, especially in women. Bone formation requires a daily intake of protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and fluoride. For this reason, it is highly recommended to take dairy products such as milk, yogurt and some cheeses.
Another common health problem in old age is constipation. This can improve by increasing the consumption of water, with the use of olive oil to dress the dishes and with the intake of foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables or whole grains.
How should the diet of a healthy older adult be?
In general, it is necessary to maintain a varied and balanced diet to ensure an optimal supply of nutrients and to adapt the energy supplied to the lower energy expenditure that aging entails and the reduction of physical activity.
“The physiological changes that we have mentioned originate, on numerous occasions, a modification of the habitual diet. For example, abandoning or reducing the consumption of protein foods, mainly meats, due to difficulty in chewing, contributes to the loss of muscle mass and increases the risk of anemia due to iron and vitamin B-12 deficiency ”Explains nutritionist Laura González, Nestlé’s Head of Health and Nutrition.
In general, older people need a diet high in nutrient density as varied and balanced as possible to ensure that it meets all their needs, since although energy needs decrease, vitamins and minerals increase.
“We have to be especially careful with the consumption of B complex vitamins – such as cyanamide, folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin C, calcium, iron and proteins – in order to avoid deficiencies, since they are the nutrients in which there are usually more deficiencies at those ages ”, adds the specialist.
Nutrition in Old Age: Tips for Eating a Healthy Diet
These are the advice of Laura González to follow a healthy diet in old age:
When choosing carbohydrates, it is preferable to choose whole grains and legumes, as they provide more fiber, B vitamins and minerals.
It is important to opt for the roasted and boiled preparations, soups, stews and purees, before the fried ones.
As for meats, it is important to eliminate visible fat before preparing them (remove the skin from the chicken and the fatty parts of the meats) and eat fish three times a week.
Finally, be careful with the consumption of salt. Ideally, it should be low or moderate to help maintain normal blood pressure.