Nutrition has a vital role in maintaining endurance, especially for the elderly. Older people tend to have weaker immune systems. Often we find the condition of our parents having difficulty eating, which raises concerns in the family. We must first find out why parents don’t want to eat before looking for alternative solutions; here are some of them:
Loss of appetite
Many people with age experience the ability to smell and taste so that they cannot smell the usual tasty smells of food and lose their ability to taste so that all food seems tasteless. Actively asking questions and listening to food wishes for parents can help overcome this problem.
Older people often have oral problems that interfere with their ability to chew food, such as ill-fitting dentures, loose teeth, or other oral infections. A visit to a prosthodontist specialist dentist can help clear up dental problems that often occur in parents.
Some drugs can cause disturbances in your sense of smell or taste, which can reduce your appetite. Consult your doctor for treatment recommendations so as not to interfere with daily nutritional intake.
Events that cause stress or depression in parents can disrupt appetite, such as sadness at being abandoned by relatives or feeling unproductive as before. Don’t hesitate to consult with experts to help parents deal with their problems.
According to the 2019 Nutrition Adequacy Rate (RDA), older people aged 50 years and over have lower calorie needs than younger age groups, ranging from 1400 – 1800 calories for women and 1600 – 2150 calories for men.
The elderly, especially the elderly, usually have muscle and joint problems as they get older, which causes them to become less active and agile before.
Losing muscle mass also causes decreased metabolic ability to burn calories in the body. If the calories you eat exceed the daily requirement, you will certainly face increased weight problems, especially in the stomach.
For this reason, healthy food choices for parents need to be considered so that they can meet daily nutritional needs and can support a strong immune system, such as the following:
- Selection of a menu that is high in protein and low in calories
Quality protein is essential to maintain muscle mass so that the elderly do not lose their mobility. However, it would be best to choose low calories and low fat, for example, fish, lean meat, skinless chicken, and vegetable protein sources such as soy, tofu, and tempeh.
- Rich intake of vegetables and fruits
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables will boost your immune system and protect you from harmful viruses and bacteria that cause disease because fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals, which also act as good antioxidants. Antioxidants will protect body cells from damage and help maintain health.
- Reduce your intake of sugar and fat
Foods that are high in sugar and fat, including those processed in a deep-fried way, can trigger inflammation in the body and lower your immune system so that your parents get sick more easily.
Consult the nutritional needs of your parents with experts. If necessary, oral supplementation can be a solution so that parents who have difficulty eating, still receive all the essential nutrients every day.