Tips to improve nutrition in older people
What is malnutrition?
Malnutrition is a serious health condition which is the result of your diet not containing the right amount of nutrients. It can be caused from lack of calories, minerals, vitamins, protein or carbohydrates.
How does it affect older people?
Older people are more susceptible to malnutrition, as when we age our metabolic rate decreases and energy requirements decrease and therefore lead to eating less. This can lead to weakened immune systems, unintentional weight loss, dry skin and hair, brittle nails and depression.
Ways to prevent malnutrition
Get support from services
If you live by yourself independently and find it a struggle to cook and prepare meals for yourself, you should consider finding out if you’re eligible for Meals on Wheels. If you’re not eligible you could try online food services like Wiltshire Farm Foods, Oakhouse Foods or iCare who deliver home cooked meals to your door.
Eat nutrient packed food
If your appetite has decreased then the food you eat should be as nutrient dense as possible. Some good examples of food which are rich in nutrients include salmon, spinach, cauliflower, almonds, egg yolks, kale, seaweed, garlic, shellfish including mussels, oysters, scallops and clams, liver, sardines, blueberries and dark chocolate, which you can include in your diet.
Try new foods
Maybe you’ve become stuck in a food rut and bored of eating the same things, if you try new foods or spices and more flavourful food it can help to make you want to try lots of new foods which can help to increase your appetite.
Have snacks between meals
For some people eating little but often is a more effective way of ensuring you eat enough nutritious food. Make sure there are always snacks on hand so if you are feeling peckish before the next meal, you have something to eat. You could leave a fruit bowl on the side, or have some nuts or yoghurts on hand.
Eat with company
At any age, people eat better when they’re sharing a meal with others. More often than not, you’ll find that people eat more vegetables and fruits and nutrient dense foods when they’re in the company of others. Sharing mealtimes with others also helps to improve your mental health because it allows you to share experiences, your thoughts and is a wonderful way of winding down.
Have regular meal times
Eating at regular times of the day can help give your day structure and remind you to continue to eat and drink.