Balanced and adequate nutrition in old age is of great importance to protect and maintain healthiness and to improve life expectancy and quality.
Recommendations for Healthy Nutrition in Old Age
- The daily meal plan should include 3 meals and 3 snacks to reduce the amount of food consumed within the day. Hereby digestive difficulties can be prevented.
- Each meal should contain nutrients from 4 basic food groups and care should be taken to ensure food diversity. These are; milk, yoghurt, cheese and other milk-based products; meat, eggs and legumes; vegetables and fruits; breads, cereals and other grains.
- At least 5 portions of fresh vegetables and fruit should be consumed daily.
- Food that contain high amount of fiber and calcium should be consumed during the day. Food that are high in fiber include: legumes, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. On the other hand, skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, yoghurt, cheese and milk-based products are great sources of calcium.
- Consumption of liquids should be increased to at least 8 to 10 glasses of water (1500 ml) daily. If this amount cannot be consumed as all water, freshly-squeezed fruit juice, herbal teas, weak black tea, ayran and/or similar liquids can be consumed. However, none of them is as effective as water in regulating body functions.
- Intake of omega-3 fatty acids should be increased by eating more fish. An example ofmeeting the recommended intake of omega-3 fats is to eat fish at least 2 times a week.
- The consumption of fats, such as margarine, butter and animal fat, increases blood cholesterol levels correspondingly increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Meat and dairy products contain saturated fat. For this reason, fat-free meat and dairy products should be consumed. Chicken and turkey meat should be consumed skinless and no extra oil should not be added to meat dishes.
- Salt intake should be limited since excessive salt consumption causes health problems such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and osteoclasis. Food that contain high sodium such as pickles, tomato paste and canned food should not be consumed. Consumption of sugar, sweets and pastry should be limited.
- Fast food consumption, such as hamburger, fries and pizza should be avoided. These foods contain high amount of fat and salt; thus, they may cause health problems.
- There are points to be considered when buying and cooking food. Food that are out of date and those packaging is impaired should not be purchased. Also boiled or grilled food is healthier than the roasted food.
- Hygiene rules should be observed during the preparation and storage of foods. So that the nutritional value of the food is maintained for sufficient and balanced nutrition.
- Proper body weight should be maintained. Obesity or being too slim may increase the risk of developing various disease during the old age.
- Do not smoke and not to drink alcohol.
Dyt. Ayşe ÖZGÖKER