It is very important for seniors to include high-protein products in their diet, says Vilma Sališienė, a social worker at the Senior Institute of the National Institute for Social Integration. These are poultry, meat, eggs, legumes and dairy products.
"The variety of products on the plate promises not only color, but also nutrition. In old age, it is especially important that each dish is made up of three or at least two groups of nutrients. And it would be even better if in the plate most of the diet was not of animal but of plant origin, ”advises V. Sališienė.
The social worker makes no secret of the fact that most seniors do not lack heavy and fatty foods in their diet, such as smoked meat products, hard margarines, mayonnaise and flour desserts. However, they are rich in saturated fatty acids, which increase the risk of atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular diseases. They are therefore advised to use them extremely rarely and in moderation.
"It is very important for older people to eat in moderation, and it is best to take smaller portions 4-5 times a day. These include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in between. As a snack among the main dishes is best to choose fruit or nuts, kefir with bran. And in order to achieve a long-term result, you should eat regularly at the same time - it helps to regulate the feeling of hunger and satiety, ”says V. Sališienė.
Drinking water is a basic dietary rule that is emphasized by a specialist caring for seniors. Ji says that it is necessary to drink up to 1.5 liters of fluids a day, and it is also important to take into account the chronic illnesses that require fluid intake.
"Almost everyone knows that fatty foods should be avoided. But far less often we think about spices. In fact, it is better for older people to avoid spicy foods, as they can irritate the lining of the organs of the digestive system, which can lead to dysfunction. Therefore, salt, salted, canned foods should be avoided, which retain fluids in the body, increase blood pressure and complicate the work of the heart, ”says V. Sališienė.
It is important to choose the right way to prepare food, says the social worker. Cooked and stewed food is much more suitable for the digestion of seniors. However, she reminds that fried foods should be avoided, as fat breakdown substances interfere with the digestive system and bile.
"As the need for energy decreases in old age, it is better to avoid foods with a high energy density - sweets, confectionery and other sweets. It’s no secret that high-sugar products increase the risk of developing diabetes. Therefore, together with curious seniors, we choose to look for healthier alternatives together and make desserts at home, ”says V. Sališienė, who supervises seniors.
It is always better to exchange sweets for fruit, says the senior social worker. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that the elderly need to get more than usual. Also, some fruits and vegetables have antioxidant properties, strengthen the body's resistance to various infections, reduce the risk of Alzheimer's, cancer. In addition, citrus fruits rich in vitamin C strengthen the walls of blood vessels, normalize cholesterol metabolism.