Sufficient nutritional intake is widely known to counteract the aging process. Insufficient nutritional issues within the older generations are augmented due to their age related reduced organ functions which in turn affect the digestive system hindering metabolism, absorption, and excretion of vital nutrients, therefore increasing vulnerability to chronic degenerative diseases. Seventy five percent of individuals over the age of 65 years suffer from, or are expected to suffer from at least one chronic disease. Adequate nutritional intake and body absorption of those crucial nutrients is the essential factor deciding whether prevention of a disease occurs, or whether recuperation from a disease occurs.
Calorie intake requirements change as we age due to the fact that there is a greater percentage of overall body fat and a much lower percentage of lean muscle. Reduced physical exercise causes a further decrease in calorie requirements. The challenge for the aging population is to match the same nutrient intake that was required when they were younger but to do so while consuming fewer calories. The only solution to this predicament is to target and consume nutrient dense food sources. Protein requirements for an aging individual are not believed to be reduced by much, although protein intake by various aging individuals may vary due to physical inactivity, dietary restrictions or tolerances, or chronic disease.
Reducing the overall fat content from the balanced diet of an aging individual is practical, this means that it is desirable to consume no more than 30 percent of the daily calorie intake from fatty food sources. Carbohydrate consumption should encompass about 60 percent of the daily calorie intake with emphasis placed on consuming more complex carbohydrates. Glucose intolerance increases with age so consuming lower refined carbohydrates will put less stress on the digestive processes. Increased dietary fibre intake is highly recommended, and with an adequate fluid intake, normal bowel functions can be achieved. Dietary fibre is also believed to reduce inflammation of the intestines. Fruits, Vegetables, Cereals, Legumes, Seeds, and Nuts are all good sources of dietary fibre.
Insuring adequate water intake occurs throughout the day is crucial as rehydrating serves various essential bodily functions. Usually normal kidney functions tend to decline with age, so insuring that an adequate intake of water occurs regularly will reduce the stress placed on the kidneys. Consuming at least five to eight tall glasses of water every day would be ideal. Not only aging individuals, but individuals in general quite often are unaware that their body requires rehydrating. By the time an individual becomes thirsty, dehydration of the body is already starting to occur, regular water intake should occur automatically rather than waiting until you feel thirst. It is absolutely imperative that healthy diet plans designed for aged individuals incorporate sufficient fluid intake.
As we all age various food sources may not seem as appealing or appetising as they once did due to a declining of our smell and taste senses. It is very difficult to even consider the thought when aged individuals are advised to reduce their salt and sugar intake because many individuals are relying on that extra boost of flavour to compensate for the lacking of sensation. It is the responsibility of all individuals to heed the sensible advice of reducing salt and sugar intake and educating themselves on healthier alternatives. When looking to boost the flavour of tasteless meals, herbs and spices come to mind as a perfect replacement for both salt and sugar. The healthy herb and spice alternative has actually been proven to be one of the highest quality nourishing food sources.
Water soluble vitamins such as vitamins B and C require regular replenishing as the body does not store these vitamins in reserve. The fat soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K can be stored within the body tissues so care should be taken because it can be potentially dangerous to have an overabundance of these. Nutritional assessments of aged individuals usually indicate a low risk of fat soluble vitamin deficiencies with the exception of vitamin D due to a lower intake of dairy products and less time in direct sunlight. Of all the mineral requirements for the aged individual it seems only iron and calcium have been reported to be low. As mentioned above, targeting nutrient dense food sources is the best advice, and make certain to include calcium rich food sources such as low fat diary products.
The requirement for electrolytes such as sodium and potassium can be drastically altered within an aged individual when certain medications are consumed for the purpose of controlling health issues such as hypertension or heart disease. In this case the diet should be altered for an individual in such circumstances to balance out, or rectify any nutrient deficiencies. Nutritional assessments are often conducted by healthcare professionals to determine if a nutritional deficiency is contributing to a patient's symptoms. Generally speaking, by selecting the required food groups from a wide variety of food types is your best guarantee of acquiring a healthy nutritional balanced diet.