Old Age And Nutrition

Old age catches up with everyone eventually. Degenerative diseases of the heart & blood-vessels, bones and joints take over with age. Physical activity & exercise is very useful to counter these. Here some of the common things to keep in mind:
  • Old age brings about a reduction in body’s metabolic rate, digestion, kidney-function etc. This also has a direct impact on medicine-dosage which should be reduced by 20-25%.
  • Obesity can lead to heat-diseases, stroke, hyper-tension and diabetes. Therefore regular brisk walk for at least 30 minutes daily is recommended.
  • At least 5-6 hours of sleep is required in old-age. Avoiding sleep in the afternoon and late night activity can help sleep well in the night. 20-minute nap is better than hours of sleep in the afternoon.
  • Brain is like a muscle that needs exercising to prevent conditions like Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
  • In the next decade Depression will be no. 1 disease in old-age. An active social & family life, grand-parenting, community activities and support from friends/relatives are the best antidote to depression.

Diet & Nutrition

Physiological changes in old age decrease the calorie requirements by 5% after 50 years of age and 10% every decade after 60 years of age. That means an 80-year old person needs only two-thirds of the calories needed by an adult.

Food, in general, should be easily digestible. It should be low in fats to avoid discomfort. The diet should consist of vegetables, fruits, whole-cereals, low-fat milk/cheese, lean meat with minimum oil.
  • Fruits, including dry fruits, and vegetables provide vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants to combat degeneration in general.
  • Vitamin-D from the sunlight and Calcium-rich food is essential for bone-health to avoid physical injuries.
  • Higher fiber-intake prevent constipation and helps reduce cholesterol levels.
  • Protein intake should be moderated to maintain good kidney-function.
  • White-colored items like refined-sugar, table-salt and maida should be avoided.
  • Liquid food like milk or juice should be avoided before going to bed to avoid frequent urination and the resulting sleep-disruptions.