We’ve regularly seen in the home, and the grandparents share their meals with all the young ones stating – give the meals to the children, they want it more than people. It is pretty dangerous when our seniors begin feeling they do not need to eat just like before. We know that energy requirements decrease with age, although not the requirements of the human body. Their desire reduces with time, but the body still needs appropriate nutrient consumption. This demand must be cared for with less quantity and more quality.

An individual’s daily caloric needs depend upon his/her stature, weight, muscle mass, activity level and many different aspects. However, the definition of a balanced diet isn’t the same for all age classes. It disagrees with age, sex, demands, etc. 

Older adults usually need fewer calories. It’s even common to eliminate strength and muscle as you get older. On the other hand, the nutritional supplement demands are equally high or higher than if they’re younger. Thus, eating nutrient-rich, whole foods becomes exceptionally important. 

Reduced food consumption among the elderly has been correlated with lower iron, calcium, zinc, vitamins, etc. Inadequate energy intake or very low nutrient density might raise the probability of diet-related disorders and present a health issue. A diverse diet that concentrates on fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, dairy foods and lean meats may satisfy the basic nutritional requirements of older adults. 

Physiological changes associated with age, such as diminished gastric emptying, altered hormonal reactions, decreased basal metabolic rate, and altered taste and odour, may lead to reduced energy consumption. Pros even emphasize that constipation is a frequent health problem among the elderly.

It’s widespread in people over 65, and it’s just two to three times more prevalent in girls. Eating fibre can help alleviate constipation. It moves through the intestine undigested, helping sort stool and promote regular bowel movements.

Other factors like marital status, income, education, socioeconomic status, diet-related perspectives, and beliefs also play a role. And once we talk primarily about people over 60 years old, matters get more complex for many more reasons.

Dr. Seema Puri, Associate Professor at the Department of Nutrition at the Institute of Home Economics at the University of Delhi, raises concerns such as malnutrition in older is multifactorial and frequently affected by socio-psychological variables like loneliness, melancholy, loss of a partner, residing independently etc. rather than just economic explanations. Consequently, it’s essential to tackle these issues also.

Now, the way to deal with the matter? Supplying nutrient-dense meals could remedy age-related nutritional problems. Dr. A. Laxmaiah, Head, Division of Community Research in National Institute of Nutrition, recommends geriatric inhabitants take a lot of vitamin D, Calcium, vitamin B12 since lack of these nutrients is relatively high in elderly age classes. It might be attributed to low absorption. Dr. Seema Puri adds here that calcium and vitamin D is highly significant, and the demands are raised – hence exposure to sunlight to vitamin Digestion of fortified foods and calcium-rich foods such as dairy is substantial.

Nutritional supplements are thought to meet the lack of food components in our daily diet. The objective of the nutritional supplement is to bring that bit extra to a usual diet. Elders want more of certain nutrients commonly missed out because of their reduced appetite for meals. So, supplements have been seen by many as having the capability to satisfy the requirements.

An elder requires a couple of nutritional supplements like Magnesium, vitamin D for bone health. Vitamin B6 is needed to form red blood cells and Vitamin B12 to maintain the red blood cells healthy. According to Dr. K Damayanti, Retired Scientist at National Institute of Nutrition in Hyderabad – D, “Multivitamin and mineral supplements aren’t recommended on a routine basis. However, vitamin B12, it’s some problems with absorption because of a deficiency of intrinsic elements. Absorption forces of the human body slowly decrease with age.

Therefore supplements are favoured to be supplied via injections or at higher doses if it’s in the form of pills. Taking nutritional supplements in old age isn’t suggested until the period body demands of a specific nutrient is stuffed with the assistance of regular diet and foods. Taking dietary supplements appears to be among the simplest ways for elderly adults to satisfy their everyday nutrition requirements, but eating wholesome food is ideal for getting the nourishment they require.

Experts are unanimous regarding the number and quality of food consumption by older people. Older adults have to consume more fruits and veggies and energy-dense foods because their ability of gut is significantly less and absorption of minerals and vitamins is substantially less during the old era. Consuming sufficient vegetables and fruits offers potassium, restricting sodium (salt) intake, which might lower the risk of elevated blood pressure and diabetes. Dr. Laxmaiah urges – including whole grains, fruits, legumes and vegetables will supply fibre minerals and vitamins.

Dr K. Damayanti proposes comparable solutions. She emphasizes that elderly men and women need fewer calories and more fibres, minerals and vitamins. So there’s a need to eat micronutrient dense and fibre-rich foods. Calcium and vitamin D requirements for seniors are greater than the teenager group, so it’s critical to eat milk and milk products. Dr. Laxmaiah urges older adults to satisfactorily consume low-fat or low-fat dairy products and select foods that are low in saturated fat to help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The elderly are even encouraged to eat nutrient-dense foods like nuts, oilseed, fruits, legumes, vegetables and fresh foods to satisfy the daily requirements of vitamins and nutritional supplements to stop multiple micronutrient malnutrition. Nuts and oilseeds aren’t just abundant sources of micronutrients and fibre but also the superior supply of fats and proteins for elders.

It’s highly advisable to eat at least 30g of nuts daily. Antioxidants and phytonutrients present naturally in foods are valuable to encourage healthy ageing, such as dark-coloured fruits and veggies, spices and herbs, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, red wine, green tea; etc. 

When asked about how the caloric demands of an individual become changed with ageing, Dr. Seema Puri highlights Indian Council of Medical Research recommendations, as a person ages, his basal metabolic rate slows down. Additionally, physical activity reduces, and so the requirements of calories additionally decrease.

According to BMR and physical activity levels, the advocated estimated energy demands (EER) for its sedentary older man and girl weighing 65kg and 55kg are both 1700 Kcal and 1500Kcal respectively. She even confirms gender also makes a difference in calorie consumption during ageing as girls generally have more fat mass and men have the greater muscle mass that is the active tissue.

Beyond all of the nutrition guides, specialists also urge seniors to be invited to keep physical activity. There are many facets to be considered for older age folks; nevertheless, with a few understanding and precautions, leading a healthy lifestyle and attaining a centenary won’t be an issue.