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Healthy Dieting in Adults and Ageing Adults - Onyeagba Nwamaka

October 22, 2019

Facts About Ageing

As we gets older, body ability to absorb some nutrients may change, it is therefore very important to get enough of the basic nutrients. It is also important that we change our dietary lifestyle to suit our age and to help us stay healthy and strong. The following class of food are essential and necessary for us to stay strong and healthy: protein, fiber, fats, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and sodium.

A. PROTEIN

Proteins are large molecules that our cells need to function properly. They consist of amino acids. The structure and function of our bodies depend on proteins. Protein is important for building muscles and keep them strong. It also keeps the hair, nails and skin healthy.

SOURCES OF PROTEIN

Fish, lean meat (red meat and fat trimmed pork); poultry (dressed or skinned chicken), egg; milk products (low cholesterol butter, cheese, ice cream, low cholesterol and unsweetened yoghurt); legumes (soy beverages, nuts and seeds.

B. FIBER

Dietary fiber refers to nutrients in the diet that are not digested by gastrointestinal enzymes but still fulfil an important role. Mostly found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, fiber helps the bowel stay active and prevent constipation. It keeps the blood sugar and blood cholesterol level normal. NOTE: It is important to know that constipation is common as we age, so it is essential that we eat enough fiber. If you increase your fiber intake, it is essential that you increase the quantity of water intake as well.

C. CALCIUM

Calcium is good for healthy bones and to prevent osteoporosis (a condition by which the bones becomes weak and brittle). It helps in keeping muscles of the heart healthy. Calcium needs increase in people over the age of 50 years. Calcium sources include milk and milk products, soy beverages, canned fish with bones and calcium enriched 100% fruit juices.

D. VITAMIN D

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, balance calcium level for healthy bones, and getting enough vitamin D may also help prevent fall. Age increase the deficiency of vitamin D in part because the body absorbs less vitamin D from our diet. Due to this, adults over 50years needs a daily intake of 400IU of vitamin D supplement in addition to eating excessive food sources of vitamin D.

Foods that provide vitamin D include cow milk, soy beverage, margarine, egg yolk, oily and fatty fish such as salmon and herring.

E. VITAMIN B6

Vitamin B6 helps the body make protein which is used to build red blood cells, make hormones and fight infections. It also helps maintain a healthy nervous system, regulate blood sugar level (glucose). Your need for Vitamin B6 increase with age because of the body’s inability to absorb and use Vitamin B6 changes. Therefore, choosing a variety of food and eating enough food that contains vitamin each day can meet the increase need for Vitamin B6. Sources of Vitamin B6 include fish, meat, poultry products, nuts, organ meat, enriched cereals, meatless soy products, lentils, starchy vegetables like potatoes and fruits other than citrus.

F. FAT

Fat help the body to absorb vitamin used in the brain and nervous system. Eating more fat can lead to weight gain and having excessive weight gain can increase a person risk to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Sources of fat food include olive oil, cholesterol rice, fatty meat, and oil.

G. VITAMIN B12

Vitamin B12 helps the nervous system work and in making red blood cells. As one gets older, it is harder for the body to absorb Vitamin B12 found naturally in foods. If one does not get enough Vitamin B12 it can results to anemia. Other time, too little Vitamin B12 can cause nerve and brain damage and the common signs of anemia includes weakness, tiredness, shortness of breath, dizziness, coldness in one’s hands and feet. NOTE: Adult over 50years needs to take multivitamin supplements containing Vitamin B12 to supplement the little the body absorbs. They also need to eat food fortified with Vitamin B12.

Sources of Vitamin B12 includes cereals, fortified soya beverage, meat, fish, and egg, milk and poultry products.

H. SODIUM

Sodium is needed in small amounts and quantity in the body. Too much sodium intake can increase blood pressure thereby putting the person at high risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Sodium is found in all types of salt. NOTE: It is essential to limit: salty foods, ready to eat foods, and fast foods. It is important to check the daily value on the nutrition fact table of packaged food. Choose products with 5% daily value less for sodium and it is better to prepare your own meals using low or no sodium added ingredients such as fresh and dried herbs and spices.

As advised by Onyeagba Nwamaka, a Certified Nurse – 0703 794 9100