Diet for the Elderly – Dieting is done to help achieve the ideal body weight while maintaining a healthy body. Then, should the elderly go on a diet?
Diet is one way that many do to keep the body ideal and healthy. Not surprisingly, everyone wants to have an ideal body, including the elderly. However, is this diet for the elderly necessary?
It’s okay for the elderly to go on a diet, especially because the diet does have a positive impact on health. Even so, generally, the elderly go on a diet when they have been diagnosed with certain health problems. For example, cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, heart disease, and kidney disease require the sufferer to go on a diet so that their body weight remains ideal.
Many elderly people go on a diet to help lose weight to reduce the risk of disease. However, the diet program that many people do today is considered extreme when applied to the elderly.
If you continue to do extreme diets, the elderly will experience drastic weight loss and reduce their muscle mass. As a result, the elderly experience certain nutritional deficiencies that are very risky for overall body health.
The elderly are those who are over 60 years old. In the elderly, there are ‘normal’ changes in the body, namely, the organs begin to decline in function. This condition can be influenced by hereditary, socio-economic, and environmental factors. The elderly experience a decrease in muscle and bone mass as well as an increase in body fat. This will result in a decrease in activity. Decreased daily activities will result in obesity.
Losing teeth in the elderly will cause difficulty eating and affect intake. This will lead to decreased intake and decreased body weight. Other changes that are no less important are psychological, economic changes, and social changes. These changes will result in a condition of ‘malnutrition’ or nutritional imbalance and can lead to chronic diseases, such as stroke, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, diabetes, hypertension, and lipid profile disorders.
We cannot avoid aging. The thing to strive for is to age healthily. Health promotion can be done by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and participating in the activities of local elderly groups. Some nutritional recommendations for efforts to age healthily include the following:
A Balanced and Varied Diet
- Balanced means the composition of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals according to the needs of the body
- Enough vitamins, minerals, and fiber (by eating vegetables and fruit)
- Enough fluids to drink
- Modify the shape of the food according to the ability
The nutritional needs of the elderly are adjusted to several factors, namely gender, body weight, and activity. For the elderly who have chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, lung disease, kidney disease, liver disease, or lipid profile disorders, a special diet is needed that is adapted to the conditions of each elderly person.
From the explanation above it can be concluded that nutritional intake in the elderly needs to be considered. This is because there are “normal” changes that occur in the elderly. Moreover, in the elderly with certain diseases, it is clear that they need a special diet according to the needs of the body and according to the disease.
Food Choices That Need Attention
In carrying out a diet for the elderly an elderly person is recommended to eat foods with a high protein content, such as fish, egg whites, and meat. Meanwhile, the recommended way of processing food is boiling or steaming. The reason is that this way of processing food can break down complex proteins into simpler forms. In addition, boiled and steamed food will make it easier for the elderly digestive system to digest food.
Meanwhile, carbohydrate intake for the elderly should be 45 to 60 percent of total energy. Choose the types of complex carbohydrates that are good for your health. Avoid consuming foods with a high sugar or artificial sweetener content, as well as soft drinks. Prioritize consuming foods that have a low glycemic index, such as brown rice or wheat. This is done to keep the body’s glucose levels normal.
In addition, pay attention to fat consumption among the elderly. The recommendation is about 25 percent of the total energy needs. Meanwhile, consumption of saturated fat is no more than 10 percent, and total cholesterol must be less than 200 milligrams per day.
Fat is also needed by the elderly to provide long-term energy, help activate hormones, maintain body temperature, protect body cells, and transport vitamins throughout the body. However, avoid consuming foods with high saturated fat content, such as coconut milk, high-fat milk, pork, and coconut oil. Also avoid consuming foods that are sources of cholesterol, such as organ meats, eggs, butter, and brains.
Simultaneously for Medical Purposes
Diet is not only to help lose weight but also to help prevent diseases that can attack the body as well as treat existing diseases. Because, as we get older, the body becomes more susceptible to disease.
For example, when an elderly person is said to have diabetes, he must control his diet by eating foods that are rich in nutrients and low in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. Another thing that is not less important is that the diet serves to adapt eating patterns to existing health problems.
Likewise, when an elderly person suffers from an illness, he or she must routinely take medication according to the doctor’s recommendations. However, he must also know what types of food and drink are allowed and prohibited for consumption. So, the body still gets a balanced nutritional intake.
After reading an article about diet for the elderly, it is hoped that it can help maintain their health. In addition, the elderly must also undergo routine health checks. Don’t ignore the slightest changes in your body.