Good health in old age depends on the diet that we consume. Nowadays with the advancement in the field of medicines, more people are being healthy. The factors that contribute to the healthy life in old age are good nutrition, hygiene, antibiotics and medicines to prevent any disease. There will be some metabolic changes in the old age.
Most old age people tend to lose considerable weight. Their diet usually becomes unbalanced if they are living alone as they become very reluctant to cook by themselves. They also avoid going to restaurant and often skip the meals. They start to rely on the snacks and tea.
Their diet may be still restricted considering the fact that they have high blood pressure, cardiac failure, diabetes and other disease. Their digestive system would also have become less effective. Hence the diet for the people in old age should be helpful for them to maintain good health.
In old age, they cannot adjust to the constant variations in the intake of water. The old people have 7-8 lts less body water of the same weight with a person of about 35 years of age. The old people have also impaired response to the dehydration. This is due to the presence of high sodium levels in the blood. Their urine is not concentrated and their thirst sensation will not be so acute.
Their bones may become weak due to the deficiencies of calcium, vitamins, minerals, proteins and hormones. So diet should be designed in order to fulfill these requirements. Osteomalacia is very common in old people and especially in women. This happens due to the deficiency of vitamin D, phosphorous and low serum calcium. Osteomalacia can take form as back pain, bone pain, muscle weakness and neck fractures. Diet is provided in such a way that it fulfills these requirements.
Some of the elderly people use medicine for the normal passage of the urine but this causes the level of the serum sodium to be decreased. The low level causes confusion, weakness, giddiness and fits. This also causes heartbeat irregularities.
The protein deficiencies are common in old people. Protein rich foods like meat and eggs are given. For vegetarians, food substances like pulses are rich in proteins and can be added to the regular diet daily. The basic requirement for a person is about 70 g of proteins. If this amount cannot be given by diet, it is given by protein supplementation.
Fats are reduced because they are difficult to be digested. About 40 g of fats can be added to the diet daily. Carbohydrates are a very good source of energy. Foods like bread, cakes, biscuits and pastries are very good source of carbohydrates.