Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Many things change as we age. One of the crucial things that changes with our age is our dietary needs. There are several ways on how our dietary need changes as we age. Read below and know more about it.

How Do Dietary Needs Change As We Age?

How Do Dietary Needs Change As We Age?

Every phase of our life gets changed in our bodies; may it be our body's metabolism and digestion, our taste or may it be any other change in our body. So, accordingly the diet and nutrition we take plays an important role in keeping us healthy and be more energetic and prevent diseases in a better way. Below we will study more about the dietary changes with our age.

  1. Dietary Need Change Because Of The Age Related Changes in Metabolism and Digestion:

    Our body process foods differently and in a slower manner, as we age. So, when we continue eating the same amount of food and same types of foods that we used to eat during our younger age, then we put ourselves at risk for weight gain and upset our digestive system.

    So, we must be more proactive by keeping a check on our intake of calorie and making sure that the foods we eat are rich in nutritional value.

    • Add high-fiber rich foods in your meal plan. This would help in preventing diseases and also improve digestion.
    • It is essential to drink at least 1.5 Liters of water, which can help aid in digestion and increase our body's metabolism.
    • It is good to have a good habit of taking small meals throughout the day, which gives our body a chance to digest properly and use the fuel we are putting in to our bodily system.
  2. Dietary Need Change Because Of The Age Related Sensory Changes:

    There are also changes in our senses for taste and smell as we age. Actually the senses for taste and smell diminish with age. Older adults tend to lose sensitivity to bitter and salty tastes at first; so we may be inclined to salty food more heavily than before or during our adult phase. Now, as older adults require less salt than younger ones, it is essential to find an alternative to sodium for our body, which can contribute to high blood pressure and several other diseases. On the other hand, older adults retain the sweet-tasting senses for long, and this in turn can cause a sweet tooth that overindulges in sugary snacks.

    • You need to try healthy oils such as olive oil, for season food instead of salt.
    • Low-sodium season such as lemon juice, curry and dill offer new flavors and healthier options as we age.
    • You can experiment with new herbs and spices that would fit your taste.
    • You can take more of sweet foods like fruits, yams etc instead of adding more sugar for sweetness in meals.
    • Try a lot of variety foods that suits your tastes. Try out new recipes.
    • Do not over-cook your foods.
  3. Changes In Hydration As We Age:

    Hydration is an important part of diet and nutrition, in every phase of our life; irrespective of what our age is. However, as we get older, it can be problematic to maintain the hydration needs of our body. Aging adults might reduce their water intake voluntarily because of the extra trips to bathroom, or might not be taking enough water to keep the body hydrated.

    Hydration is very important for all of us; especially in older ages. Dehydration can cause acute confusion or several infections of urinary tract; which almost always require your hospital visits. So, in order to combat dehydration, make sure your diet and nutrition is matching your body's requirements for fluid.

    • It is essential for you to note that as you age, do drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine, focus on foods that are rich in water content.
    • Try out cucumber.
    • Take more of watermelon, grapes, and celery.
  4. Age Related Illnesses and Medications Use Brings About Dietary Change:

    As we age, our body can affect the overall nutritional health as well. We suffer from several illness and start taking medications which may have an impact on our dietary changes. Teeth problems, loose or improperly fitting dentures can cause a reduction in the intake of food and lead to subsequent weight loss or malnutrition as we age. There may also be some gastrointestinal problems because of the medications and side effects or some other causes and can reduce your appetite, even Alzheimer's can cause you forgetting to prepare meal or eating your food.

    • In all such cases, you need to be very much sure to see help or have an honest conversation with your loved ones.
    • Avoid foods or supplements that might interfere with the effectiveness of medication you are taking. Consult your doctor for any interactions that might arise.
  5. Vitamins Are Not Absorbed In The Body Well As You Age:

    It is to be noted that your body changes the way it absorbs minerals and vitamins from the food you take as you grow older. This means that you might not always get the complete advantage from the foods you are consuming as you age. So, in order to be sure that you are still getting an appropriate dosage of vitamins, that helps you at least with the effects of ageing, like vitamin D and B12; you need to talk to your geriatrician, about beginning supplements of vitamins. Vitamin B12 can aid with a slowing metabolism and will naturally increase the energy output.

Conclusion:

It is important for us to remain aware of physical changes at any age. As we get older, our nutritional or dietary requirements evolve and we must make adjustment in the type of the food we take and ways of taking our food; so as to stay healthier and feel happier. Dietary changes are absolutely a natural part as we age, so we need to adjust our food requirements accordingly and enjoy a healthy life even if we grow older. Also we need to consult the physician before making any changes to the diet, who can give us professional advice according to our medical condition.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 22, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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