Posted on 31/10/2012

Nutrition for Older Patients

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As we age, our bodies generally require less energy. While being active and getting regular exercise is incredibly beneficial for older people – and for anyone – the nutritional requirements of our bodies tends to change slightly as we get older.

The need for protein, fibre, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals is still of course essential, though it’s wise to eat foods which are nutritionally dense – containing the same amount of vitamins and minerals while containing fewer calories.

As activity levels decline, gut problems can arise. Eating plenty of fibre rich foods such as wholegrain bread and pasta can reduce constipation and promote gut health.

Dehydration can be a huge problem for older people. Not only are they less sensitive to the feeling of thirst, dehydration can lead to drowsiness and confusion, so it’s essential that a decent fluid intake is maintained through drinking water, tea or fruit juice. Drinking plenty of fluids is also important to maintaining healthy kidney function, which can decrease as we get older.

Sugar and saturated fat should be limited as much as possible. Foods such as cakes, sweets and biscuits are more often than not high in fat and sugar, which can lead to weight gain. In particular, overweight or obese people should avoid these types of foods.

Anaemia is common in older people; often a result of poor diet and poor gut function, anaemia is caused by a deficiency of iron. Iron is present in red meat, leafy green vegetables and fortified cereals.

NRS provide a range of equipment to aid cooking and food preparation. For those who struggle with motor function or tasks such as chopping vegetables, our products are ideal in helping to maintain a healthy diet and for the preparation of nutritious meals.

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