At a higher age, many people experience serious changes in their living conditions. Many older people suffer from the increasing performance restrictions. What used to go by the hand can suddenly only be done with great effort. In order to remain independent and independent for as long as possible and for as long as possible, a healthy diet is of great importance.
Beware of weight loss
While overweight is a very common problem in middle age, underweight and malnutrition are more prevalent in old age. With increasing age and by various diseases occur more and more problems with food or eating.
If the diet is too one-sided or the energy intake is below 1500 kcal per day, it is usually not certain that all nutrients are absorbed in sufficient quantities. The result is that too little vital nutrients such as proteins, vitamins and minerals are absorbed. The body has to live on the reserves and the weight decreases. When diseases occur, the organism has little to oppose.
Since it is very difficult to make up for lost weight especially in old age, countermeasures should be taken early. If you lose weight within a few weeks, feel constantly weak, tired and impotent, this is very serious. Be sure to discuss this problem with your family doctor.
It depends on correct selection and preparation
Although very old people need less energy overall, the need for vital nutrients remains, and some nutrients are even needed in higher quantities. The right choice of food is therefore particularly important at this age. Food should preferably be on the table, which have a high nutrient density. This includes:
- Vegetable fruit,
- Whole grain cereals,
- Dairy products, low-fat meat,
- Fish, poultry, eggs,
- Legumes and
- Vegetable oils.
But the preparation and presentation of the food should not be neglected. Because in old age, eating can increasingly cause difficulties such as problems with chewing and swallowing or loss of appetite.
When the food does not taste like it used to
People of higher age often complain of loss of appetite. There are many causes for this. The perception of taste decreases significantly in old age, as the number of taste buds is reduced. In particular, the taste qualities sweet and salty are affected. The sense of smell also decreases. The odor perception threshold is up to 12 times higher in an old person than in young adults.
Since the taste and the smell of food are mainly responsible for the enjoyment of food, these restrictions have a significant effect on the appetite. Try to stimulate your sense of taste and smell in food preparation.
- Season the food vigorously.
- Do not just grab the salt shaker, but use fresh herbs, curry, garlic, nutmeg, etc. The intense scent of the spices also stimulates the appetite.
- Make the food appetizing, because even the eye eats with.
- Note that some medications may affect your appetite. Discuss this topic with your doctor. Often, the intake of the drug alone can have a favorable effect.
When the portions become smaller
An increased activity of saturation factors in the gastrointestinal tract and changes in the hormone-controlled central saturation system leads to early saturation and reduced edict drive in seniors. Only small portions can be consumed per meal.
- Eat several small meals a day so that you can eat all the nutrients in sufficient quantities. Start with a breakfast right after getting up and finish the day with a bedtime treat. Have at least one hot meal per day.
- Imagine little snacks in between, for example: An appetizing sandwich, a sliced apple, a cup of yogurt or a piece of fruit cake.
Also think of the drinks. Because not only the appetite is reduced, even the thirst sensation subsides. So that you do not forget to drink, a drinking plan can be helpful.
When chewing and swallowing become more difficult
In old age, chewing power is increasingly decreasing as a result of tooth loss and poorly fitting dentures. Many seniors also suffer from dysphagia and dry mouth. Many foods that are very chewy, such as raw vegetables, raw fruits, wholemeal bread and meat, are then avoided. The diet is very monotonous and contains mostly easy to swallow foods such as rice porridge, milk soups, pudding and mashed potatoes.
- Drink enough to stimulate saliva production.
- Chop poorly chewed food: grate, grate or puree fresh fruits and vegetables, cut meat into small pieces.
- Remove hard food ingredients: peel fruit, cut off the bread crust, remove badly chewed sausage skin.
- Choose breads that are easy to chew, but still have a high percentage of whole grains, eg. Graham bread, wholegrain toast.
- Replace hard foods with equivalent softer ones: fish instead of meat, scrambled egg instead of fried egg, cream cheese instead of hard cheese, potatoes instead of rice, salt / jacket potatoes or mashed potatoes instead of fried potatoes.
- Choose appropriate cooking methods: Prepare minced meat, saute fruits and vegetables, use finely ground whole grains for casseroles and pies, prepare savory stews.
Problems with digestion
With increasing age, the incidence of constipation increases. For example, 40 percent of over-60s complain of stool problems and constipation. After the age of 75, the number of those affected increases again significantly. Constipation is three times more common in women than in men. A daily intake of fiber in combination with a sufficient fluid intake contribute to a good functioning of the digestive system.
It should be emphasized, however, that neither a low-fiber diet nor too low fluid intake can be considered the main cause of constipation. Also note that if an acute constipation occurs, the doctor should be consulted to clarify the underlying cause.
When cooking is no fun anymore
Not a few suffer the painful loss of life partner. For many, this means a drastic change in life. Grief and loneliness prevail. Often the drive for the everyday things is missing. Food often becomes a mere food intake because society is lacking. Cooking a full lunch is considered too time-consuming for one person. So often a big monotony in the menu. This permanently promotes malnutrition.
- Keep eating and preparing food as an important and enjoyable part of your life.
- Try to eat in company often as possible. Maybe other older people in your area will be just like you. Cook together your favorite recipes. Shopping is more fun together.
- Create a pleasant dining atmosphere with a beautifully set table and candlelight, even if you are eating alone.
Eating on wheels as an alternative
If preparing your own food becomes too tedious, eating on wheels is a good alternative. However, before deciding on a provider, you should be well informed about the offerings and services offered by the various menu services. Because there are differences in both price and quality.
For example, a study carried out by the Stiftung Warentest found that deficiencies in the nutritional composition of some suppliers were to be criticized. The test showed that the fat content of many dishes was too high and the level of carbohydrates and fiber was too low. The content of vitamins and minerals (especially calcium, magnesium and folic acid) was not always satisfactory.
- Therefore, bring a sample menu home before you make your final decision and check taste and appearance.
- Check that the nutritional information and list of ingredients are declared on the packaging. Make sure you find them easily and read well.
- Check the packaging and handling of the product. The packaging should be easy to open and the handling of the product (eg heating, decanting, etc.) should be simple and easy to understand.
- Get a first impression of the delivery service (punctuality, friendliness of the staff).
- Ask for a weekly or monthly meal plan and ask what rhythm the menus are repeating. Compare the menu plans of the various mobile services.
- Inquire about the range of different diets such as diabetic food, pureed foods, vegetarian meals, etc.
- Check if fresh fruit and salads are offered daily.
- Compare prices and delivery terms.
Be quite critical in choosing the mobile menu service. The more you will be pleased about the daily delivery of the dishes and eat them with enjoyment and appetite.