Health

THE DIET FOR THE ELDERLY: WHICH NUTRIENTS CAN NOT BE MISSING

The Topic Of This Post

  • Diet-related diseases in older people
  • Sarcopenia: muscle and bone to the test of age
  • Obesity: weight as a risk factor
  • Malnutrition: when nutrition is the problem
  • Diet of the elderly: the basic nutrients
  • Proteins
  • Vitamins
  • Omega 3
  • Sali minerals
  • The advantages of a correct diet of prevention

According to the estimates of the major international bodies, such as the United Nations and the OECD, in 2050 the percentage of the elderly population worldwide (considering the age group 65 and over) will rise to 22% of the total.

 In this context, it is not difficult to understand how much the over 65s are they will help to determine the future demographics of the country and, therefore, what central role will geriatric medicine play, which means treatment of the most frequent diseases in this age group and a great deal of attention to the lifestyles and diet of elderly people .

 Aging is associated with an increase in cardiovascular diseasescancer, and diabetes, but also disorders related to the decline of physiological functions and metabolism. In this context, nutrition can play an important preventive action, allowing the elderly to face advancing age by attenuating the typical ailments of this phase of life while maintaining their autonomy, which is essential for a good quality of life.

DIET-RELATED DISEASES IN OLDER PEOPLE

Together with physical activity and a Medicare lifestyle, nutrition plays a key role in the health of the elderly. To date, according to the data provided by the ADI (Italian Association of Dietetics and Clinical Nutrition) discussed in Assisi from 19 to 21 October as part of the National Course on Food and Nutrition for the Elderly, 1.8 million elderly people are obese, 1.9 million over sixty-year-olds at risk of malnutrition, 1.8 million those suffering from sarcopenia, 19,500 patients who resort to artificial nutrition at home and 9.4 million those with vitamin D deficiency.

SARCOPENIA: MUSCLE AND BONE TO THE TEST OF AGE

The term sarcopenia indicates the syndrome, particularly on the increase in the age group from 80 years upwards, which leads to the progressive loss of mass and the weakening of muscle strength. This condition is often accompanied by frailty, physical disability, hospitalization, and serious ailments such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis and in some cases can lead to death.

OBESITY: WEIGHT AS A RISK FACTOR

Obesity also records worrying data: ISTAT declares an incidence of 15.8% of the disorder in the population between 65 and 74 years. In general, obesity is a disease that is very present in the most developed countries, where food is easily available and at a low cost, leading large sections of the population to overeat and incorrectly eat. This lifestyle, as we age, joins the decrease in energy consumption with the consequent accumulation of adipose tissue which can cause cardiovascular diseasecancer, and arterial hypertension.

MALNUTRITION: WHEN NUTRITION IS THE PROBLEM

Protein-energy malnutrition (MCP), however, is a problem related to improper intake of calories or nutrients. The causes can be given by their scarce availability, by the inability to eat, or by the alteration of the digestive and absorption processes. According to ADI data, this clinical picture occurs in about 30% of the elderly upon admission. This state of deficiency, linked in particular to vitamin D, can lead to diseases such as rickets, osteomalacia, osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer, and various autoimmune diseases.

DIET OF THE ELDERLY: THE BASIC NUTRIENTS

To prevent the onset of disorders related to incorrect or insufficient nutrition in the over 65s that we have listed so far, it is necessary to recognize the fundamental nutrients, to know which are the most suitable intake doses and which foods must be a constant part of people’s diet. elderly. To do this, we will refer, once again, to the recommendations published by the ADI.

PROTEINS

In particular, in the elderly suffering from sarcopenia, an adequate intake of proteins is essential to recover muscle mass, together with the adoption of a less sedentary lifestyle. To maintain and recover muscle, the elderly need to take in more protein than younger people: according to the data discussed at the recent ADI conference, the average daily intake should be in the range of 1.0-1. , 2 g / kg of body weight.

These values ​​vary in the elderly suffering from other disorders: for example, for those suffering from obesity, the ideal quantity is estimated at around 1g / kg, while in the malnourished elderly it can even rise to 1.5g / kg. However, the proteins must have a high biological value, coming from eggs, fish, or milk.

VITAMINS

They are important at any age, but in the diet of elderly people, they play a key role in mitigating the degenerative and decay processes typical of the age. In particular, the following cannot be missing:

  • vitamin Evitamin C, and carotenoids, which perform an antioxidant function that preserves cells and slows the formation of free radicals;
  • vitamin D, essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphate in the cartilages and the digestive tract for the mobilization of calcium from the bones;
  • B vitamins, in particular vitamin B6, are involved in the proper functioning of the metabolism and present in meat, fish, unrefined cereals and legumes, and vitamin B12, essential in the synthesis of red blood cells and bone marrow and present in foods such as eggs, milk, and dairy products and beef.

OMEGA 3

The essential fatty acids known as Omega 3 are considered the “good fats” for their important anti-inflammatory and hypotensive function which counteracts the onset of cardiovascular disorders. A correct intake of Omega 3 in the diet of elderly people can therefore prove to be valuable, also counteracting the development of forms of dementia: for this reason, the over 65s are advised to consume foods rich in these substances, such as fish and dried fruit.

SALI MINERALS

To counteract sarcopenia, a correct supply of mineral salts, useful for strengthening muscle tone and bone structure, is also essential. The magnesium present in vegetables, legumes and nuts, is important because of the bone structure and conduction of impulses nerve to the muscles, while zinc, present in meat, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products, in Wheat bran, in legumes, and dried fruit, plays a fundamental role in metabolism, immune response and neurological functioning, in particular for improving memory.

In addition to the inclusion of the foods indicated in the diet, it should not be forgotten that one of the main contributors of mineral salts in water, of which consumption of at least 2 liters per day is always recommended for men, which rise to 2, 5 for women.

THE ADVANTAGES OF A CORRECT DIET OF PREVENTION

As always, a correct diet as illustrated so far and an active and healthy lifestyle must go hand in hand with the prevention, especially for elderly people who even more need frequent checks to combat the onset of diseases or predictable and frequent complaints after the age of 65.

To accompany us on this path, a specific health policy can prove to be a precious ally.  Home Assistance Over 65 is the policy designed to take care of loved ones when age-related ailments arise. In particular, the policy offers:

  • medical, rehabilitation, nursing, and pharmacological assistance, following hospitalization from injury or major surgery, directly at home and up to € 2,500;
  • consultancy and organization of medical and rehabilitation services to promptly activate the necessary treatments;
  • discounted rates for the services of medical and paramedical staff with agreements, with significant savings, compared to normal amounts.

Are you attentive enough to the nutrition of the elderly in the family?

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