Why healthy nutrition is important for the elderly?

01/08/2023

Nutrition plays an extremely important role for the body at any age, this has been completely convincingly proven by science as well as real life practice. In addition, according to nutrition experts, from the age of 40 onwards, the body begins to show many signs of impaired function of the digestive, cardiovascular, urinary organs… affecting the food absorption, nutritional needs as well as taste. Therefore, having a separate and appropriate nutritional diet allow people at this age to prevent aging, elderly diseases and live healthier and happier.

The most important nutrients for aging

There are big differences in the nutrition for the elderly compared to children, adolescents and adults, but sufficient supply of 4 main food groups is required: carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals for the body to maintain life, movement and balanced development.

However, aging leads to a series of changes in the body including nutritional and calorie needs, specifically the need to get more nutrients and fewer calories. Nutrients that are especially important as you age include protein, vitamin D and calcium, which are explained below:

– Muscles are where amino acids are stored, which are used to produce energy and build muscle in case of low supplies or high demand. Specifically, if metabolic needs are greater than protein synthesis, then muscle loss occurs quickly and the aging process is a common cause of this imbalance. This causes older adults to often lose muscle and strength, with muscle mass decreasing by about 3–8% every decade.

Muscle mass and strength are lost as aging

Muscle mass and strength are lost as aging

Calcium and vitamin D are considered the most important nutrients as you age. Reduced calcium absorption may be due to vitamin D deficiency, as aging causes the body to produce this substance less effectively. The body makes vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin when exposed to sunlight. However, aging makes the skin thinner, leading to a reduced ability to make vitamin D. These changes prevent older people from getting enough calcium and vitamin D, promoting bone loss and increasing the risk of fractures.

Clinical trials at Oregon State University (USA) show that supplementing at least 800 IU/day of vitamin D can reduce the risk of falls and fractures in the elderly.

Calcium and vitamin D have a great influence on the bone and joint function as we age. (Photo: Freepik)

Calcium and vitamin D have a great influence on the bone and joint function as we age. (Photo: Freepik)

According to the Food and Nutrition Board of the US Institute of Health, the average adult needs at least 0.8 grams of protein per day per 1kg of body weight However, according to research by today’s experts, the protein needs of the elderly are not enough, they have higher daily protein needs than young people. As the digestive system function declines, plus the aging process occurs faster.

Therefore, it’s necessary that the elderly’s diet to be provided with high levels of protein, which is considered a top priority, in addition to being easy to digest and absorb, such as meat, fish, and beans. , milk and milk products, eggs. It is important to note that animal proteins contain more essential amino acids, but combining a variety of foods will provide a synergy to get all the amino acids the body needs.

Nutrition for the elderly needs to provide high levels of protein. (Photo: Drvaidyas)

Nutrition for the elderly needs to provide high levels of protein. (Photo: Drvaidyas)

Proper and sufficient nutritional supplement for the elderly

The amount of vitamin D recommended by the Vietnam Institute of Applied Medicine under the Vietnam Medical Association is 600 international units (IU) for most adults and children. Infants need about 400 IU, while adults over 70 need at least 800 IU.

Most people can get enough vitamin D from outdoor exposure to direct sunlight on the skin. Vitamin D is also found in many types of fish, such as salmon and herring.
At the same time, to combat the effects of aging on calcium levels, you need to meet this nutritional requirement, which is around 1000 mg , through foods high in calcium including dairy products and dark green leafy vegetables.

Nguồn cung cấp Vitamin D và Canxi  (Ảnh: Verywell Health)

Nguồn cung cấp Vitamin D và Canxi  (Ảnh: Verywell Health)

In addition to the nutrient groups mentioned above, the issue of dehydration in the elderly also needs to be focused, compared to adults, the risk of dehydration in the elderly is higher. As you get older, kidney function declines, so the risk of dehydration becomes more difficult to control, along with chronic diseases such as diabetes, and people using laxatives and diuretics have a high risk of dehydration than normal people. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that fluids are regularly replenished throughout the day, which may include water, juice, milk, broth or foods with high water content..

Nutritional supply suitable for the elderly body

The National Institute on Aging offers advice on nutritional choices for the elderly: the DASH diet. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was developed by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, focusing on good food groups that are both nutritious and effective in reduction of blood pressure, and improvement of cardiovascular health and immune system for the elderly, whom are encouraged to reduce sodium and add milk, meat, vegetables, fruits, cereals… to their bodies every day.

DASH diet is recommended for the elderly to improve health. (Photo: nhlbi.nih.gov)

DASH diet is recommended for the elderly to improve health. (Photo: nhlbi.nih.gov)

This nutritional diet has also been researched and combined by nutrition experts to be included in the Nutricare Gold product. With a 3-step formula that is good for muscles, bones, the heart and the immune system, Nutricare Gold is a suitable choice for scientific nutrition, restoring health and improving function in the elderly. Ingredients contain high quality protein HMB (β-Hydroxy, β-Methylbutyrate) along with Arginine, BCAA, Calcium, Magnesium, Nutricare Gold helps strengthen the muscle system, prevent osteoporosis, and increase mobility for the elderly. In addition, the supply of plant-based unsaturated fats MUFA, PUFA and cholesterol-free from this product helps reduce atherosclerosis and is good for the heart. Nutricare Gold also provides a balanced nutritional source with 27 vitamins & minerals and Antioxidants (vitamins A, C, E & Selenium) to help strengthen the immune system and restore health.

The elderly should have a reasonable diet, stay mentally relaxed and maintain moderate exercise to improve health, prevent chronic diseases, slow down the aging process and increase longevity. And most importantly, it is never too late to care for the health of yourself and your beloved, thereby improving your quality of life.

REFERENCES

1. Volpi E, Nazemi R, Fujita S. Muscle tissue changes with aging. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2004 Jul;7(4):405-10. doi: 10.1097/01.mco.0000134362.76653.b2. PMID: 15192443; PMCID: PMC2804956.

2. Recommendation, L. P. I. “Vitamin D metabolism.”, https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/book/export/html/159

3. Wu, Guoyao. “Dietary protein intake and human health.” Food & function 7.3 (2016): 1251-1265.

4. https://vienyhocungdung.vn/huong-dan-dinh-duong-ve-canxi-va-vitamin-d-20170331153658637.htm

5. Daily, R. D. A. “Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance.”, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/calcium-supplements/art-20047097

6. DASH, WWKB. “The DASH diet for high blood pressure: from clinical trial to dinner table.” Cleveland Clinic journal of medicine 71.9 (2004): 745.

7. LeBoff, Meryl S., et al. “Supplemental vitamin D and incident fractures in midlife and older adults.” New England Journal of Medicine 387.4 (2022): 299-309.

8. Fuss, Michel, et al. “Calcium and vitamin D metabolism in granulomatous diseases.” Clinical rheumatology 11 (1992): 28-36.

9. Said, Marwa S., et al. “Effect of DASH diet versus healthy dietary advice on the estimated atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk.” Journal of Primary Care & Community Health 12 (2021): 2150132720980952.

10. Juraschek, Stephen P., et al. “Effects of diet and sodium reduction on cardiac injury, strain, and inflammation: the DASH-sodium trial.” Journal of the American College of Cardiology 77.21 (2021): 2625-2634.

11. Sipila, S. A. R. I. A. N. N. A., and H. A. R. R. I. Suominen. “Effects of strength and endurance training on thigh and leg muscle mass and composition in elderly women.” Journal of applied physiology 78.1 (1995): 334-340.

12. Walrand, Stephane, et al. “Functional impact of high protein intake on healthy elderly people.” American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism 295.4 (2008): E921-E928.

13. https://vienyhocungdung.vn/huong-dan-dinh-duong-ve-canxi-va-vitamin-d-20170331153658637.htm

14. https://vinmec.com/vi/tin-tuc/thong-tin-suc-khoe/suc-khoe-tong-quat/nguyen-nhan-va-trieu-chung-cua-tinh-trang-mat-nuoc-o-nguoi-lon-tuoi/?link_type=related_posts

 

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