Growing old age is an irreversible biological process. As we grow old,there is progressive decline in the functioning of most organs. The nutritional needs of the elderly are very different from those of young adults.
With ageing the pleasure of eating diminishes. This occurs because of a decrease in the sensitivity of the taste buds. The taste of food appears bland. Older persons often tend to add additional salt or sugar to their food as they are not able to perceive tastes like sweet or salty as well as younger persons.
As people age, there also tends to be an increase in the presence and number of chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis and dementia.
Include three food groups in every meal .All foods can be classified into three
groups depending on their major functions i.e. energy providing food, body building food and protective foods. To ensure a nutritious diet, include one or more foods from each of the three food groups in every meal.
• Energy giving foods are mainly food containing carbohydrates and fats. Complex carbohydrates found in whole cereals, whole pulses, starchy vegetables and fruits like sweet potato, banana should be preferred to simple carbohydrate sources like sugar and honey.
• Body building foods are protein rich foods like pulses, animal foods (egg, chicken and fish), milk and milk products. They are the building blocks of muscles, organs and tissues and also help to repair worn out tissues. They help to prevent fraility and strengthen our immunity and therefore continue to be needed in old age too.
• Protective foods are rich in minerals and vitamins. They protect thebody from infections and strengthen the immune system. These foods help to prevent deficiencies like anemia and prevent/delay the onset of chronic degenerative diseases. Generally, fruits and vegetables are rich in such protective nutrients and antioxidants.
While planning meals, include one or more foods from every food group in every meal. To do so, however, it is not necessary to prepare elaborate meals with several dishes. Even a single dish may contain foods from the three food groups e.g. vegetable khichri, vegetable uthappam and missi roti