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Nutrition For the Elderly is Important!

Chuck Arnone

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Nutrient deficiencies appear to increase with age. Some colleagues at the University of Iowa looked at over 400 Iowans 79 and older living independently in rural areas and found that 80 percent reported consuming inadequate amounts of four or more nutrients. When declining energy requirements are not matched by decreased caloric intake then total body fat increases. The Atkins diet leaves your body shy on some important nutrients, such as vitamin B, and also is negative for vitamins A, C and D, anti-oxidants that slow the effects of aging and calcium. Once again the lack of exercise has to enter into the equation also.

Nutritional status may be further compromised by other problems in conjunction with the illness, such as trauma, surgery, infection drug therapy which alter nutrient requirements. This makes recovery even more difficult. Each one of the above nutrients is needed to keep an aged body in good health. Elderly individuals should try to strive for a well balanced diet and stay active. Adequate dietary fiber, as opposed to increased use of laxatives, will maintain regular bowel function and not interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, as occurs with laxative use or abuse.

Some of the factors described above, like changes in the digestive system, as well as health concerns like the increased risk of fragile bones, means that nutritional needs change as you age. Periodic review of your diet is always helpful, particularly if you have specific medical conditions. Taste and smell changes, as well as feelings of loneliness and depression, contribute to decreased appetite, while many elderly people may eat less because of chewing difficulties, fatigue, and social reasons. Another statistic for the elderly being the need for more nutrition because of disease or injury.

Some people who've been dieting all their lives find it difficult to change from a low fat diet to richer fare. Sudden weight gain from fat is definitely not recommended. After studying 300 older adults from the ages of 65 to 93, Garry has concluded that even the process of aging itself may be retarded through behavioral changes. That may precipitate a change in the dietary lifestyle, " he says. It makes strangers of those we knew best, changes relationships with loved ones in ways that resonates forever. “STOLEN MEMORIES" is the story of how one family coped with its devastating effects, and how others can learn from that experience.

Because of this, they are not getting as much of some nutrients as they need. In our newly designed pyramid, we made the base somewhat narrower to reflect the fact that less food is being taken in but chose foods that are nutrient-dense, that is, contain many more nutrients per gram of food eaten. Add foods from the tip of the Pyramid, that contain many calories and few nutrients (like candy, soda pop and potato chips), only in moderation. Individuals with difficulty chewing or swallowing or with decreased ability to taste or smell are in need of soft, moist easy to chew foods for many reasons. Topics include the geriatric perspective on: vitamin B12 in the elderly, the role of micronutrients (including thiamin, carotene and vitamin C), nutrition and cognitive function and cardiovascular nutrition.

Unintentional weight loss and malnutrition are common problems in the elderly. Taste and smell changes, as well as feelings of loneliness and depression, contribute to decreased appetite, while many elderly people may eat less because of chewing difficulties, fatigue, and social reasons. If bones decrease in density, then osteoporosis (bone loss) develops over time. Bone degeneration is due not only to calcium deficiency but also partly to genetics. These changes can contribute to decreased food intake, unintentional weight loss and malnutrition. Not everyone experiences all these changes.

Some medications will cause a loss of appetite. Consider nutrition supplements, but use them only with a doctor's approval. She has found that enhancing food flavors will increase the consumption of the foods to which flavors have been added - and the increase in intake is greater for the people who have a greater loss of smell. The loss of calcium through urine could potentially be harmful for bone turnover, with the added risk of osteoporosis. Finally, protein requires vitamin B6 in order to be metabolized and ultimately utilized in the body.

Changes to our bodies require a need for some high quality liquid vitamin nutrition. Liquid vitamins can energize and help balance your body's system with daily nutritional supplements!

Chuck Arnone believes that liquid vitamins and nutrition go hand in hand with staying healthy, which will benefit our elderly population.


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