As we get older it can be helpful to understand how our bodies dietary needs change. We value the importance of home cooking and offer meal preparation as part of our home help service. So many customers ask us how to get the right balance of vitamins and minerals so we thought we’d take a look at some recommendations to help you give your body what it needs.
Initially the basic principles are the same for all ages and The NHS Eatwell Guide splits what we need into four main food groups that we need to include:
These can be fresh, frozen or canned. Make sure you include plenty of dark green vegetables such as leafy greens or broccoli, and orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes as these give added vitamins and minerals.
Potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and other starchy foods.
Try to aim to eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day. The reason why there is so much focus on wholegrain is because these are full of nutrients including protein, fibre, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals. These can help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer.
Dairy and alternatives
Have three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy.
Try to vary these by choosing more beans, pulses, fish and eggs.
Whilst these are good principles, we also have specific dietary needs as we get older.
Our energy requirement reduces with advancing age due to a decrease in basal metabolic rate and often decreased levels of physical activity.
Try to make the fats you eat healthy ones (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) and switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.
It is important to reduce portion sizes if your activity levels are low and cut down on sugary snacks such as cakes and buns if you are carrying a few more pounds that you should be.
Your skins ability to synthesise Vitamin D decreases with age. Older people are therefore recommended to take a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D daily as well as regularly eating foods such as fish, of which at least one portion a week should be oily. This can help protect against heart disease and can be beneficial if you’ve already suffered a heart attack. Fortified breakfast cereals can also help.
Gut health can be boosted by including pro-biotic supplements, live yoghurt and of course fibre – this is where the wholegrain comes in again!
Finally, for heart health try using cholesterol lowering spreads and soya may also help to rid your body of the ‘bad’ types of cholesterol.
Just follow these simple tips and you can be sure that you are giving your body the best. That has to sensible as after all - we are what we eat!
(Although these are general principles, we advise that you check with your GP for specific information appropriate to you before making changes to your diet.)
Accredited by the Suffolk and Norfolk councils and The Care Quality Commission registered, we offer compassionate and professional home care with dignity and respect. Whatever type of care you choose for your loved one, we are on-hand to answer any questions you have.
If you’d like to find out more, please call any of our branches:
First Choice Home Care - dedicated to the provision of quality care and support