Monday, 3 December 2012

Elderly Nutrition

A London fashion magazine recently hailed being in your 80’s to be the new 20’s!  This year, a host of octogenarians have appeared on the catwalks of New York and as stylish cover girls.  Certainly, these days, no one gives you a passport to join the blue rinse brigade when you get your pension. 

But if you’re one of the 10 million people aged over 65 in the UK – or a carer or relative of an older person - listen up.  Research has found that a staggering 97 per cent of people aged 65 and over aren’t getting their recommended vitamin intake. 

So if you want to be fending off the paparazzi next year, or simply to stay in your prime for longer, here are the Mini Cooking Club’s top foodie tips for the older generation:
     1. Did you know the thirst mechanism declines as you get older?
This is the ability that tells you when to drink water and if you can’t feel thirsty, you probably won’t be getting enough liquids.  Dehydration can lead to falls and other complications in older people.  Make sure you’re getting 8 glasses of liquid a day, even if it does mean more annoying trips to the loo.

2. Did you know as you notch up another candle on your birthday cake, your bone density is reducing?
Another natural part of ageing means your bones become less dense.  So when an older person falls, a simple tumble might mean a trip to the hospital.  What can be done about it?  Eat more calcium – and this doesn’t just mean milk and cheese, but greens like broccoli and spinach or even brazil nuts.  Taking care of this tricky issue will stave off fractures in the future.

3. Did you know as you age, your immune system naturally declines?
Older people are more susceptible to infection and catching a nasty flu bug in winter.  But you can fight back.  Eating your five-a-day, and a good mix of protein, carbs and greens will stand you in good stead when those coughs and colds start flying around...

4. Did you know if you’re less active, your appetite will go down?
If you’re over 65, there’s probably no way that you’re getting the same exercise you got when you were 20 – no matter how many catwalk turns you get asked to do!  And eating like a mouse won’t get the right amount of nutrients into your diet, so stay active to keep your appetite up.  This will also help to keep you ‘regular’, another thorny problem common in older people.

5. Did you know if you’re not getting out as much, you’re not getting as much sunlight and vital Vitamin  D?
Older people are more likely to spend time indoors which means few get the Vitamin D they need to maintain bone and heart health.  So try to eat more oily fish, eggs and cereals or take a supplement to boost your intake of this key vitamin.

We think you’ll look better and feel better if you follow our foodie tips, whether you’re working that ‘silver fox’ look in Paris or in your local Tescos... Happy eating!

By Paula 

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