Nutritional needs change with age, and when a person enters old age, it is increasingly difficult to eat and meet his or her nutritional needs. We must then cook foods having modified textures, accomplished by chopping or mixing, to prevent problems in swallowing the food or pulmonary complications, for example. But how do you grind food and preserve its the flavor to ensure pleasure in eating? Could pre-packed, well-balanced meal plans from the likes of Nutrisystem be viable?
What are the problems that come with age and how can we anticipate them?
These vary greatly from one person to another as a function of genetic and environmental factors. The decrease in muscle mass is about 40% between the ages of 20 and 80 years. We lose about 10 kilos of muscles in his life. Normally, it is 30 (women) to 35% of the (human) body weight. A 30-year-old woman weighing 60 kg therefore has 20 kg of muscle. At 80, she has no more than 12 kg. A young man of 70 kilos has at least 25 kilos of muscles, and at 80, he still has 15 kilos of muscles.
The causes are progressive atrophy of muscle fibers and the difficulty of the body to activate the synthesis of muscle proteins. The risks are falls (fractures) and undernutrition.
Can we prevent the decline of muscle mass?
Yes, you can prevent muscle mass decrease in two ways:
1 – By maintaining regular physical activity. Endurance can be developed by walking, cycling, and swimming (at least 45 minutes per day), as well as resistance or strength exercises (at least 10 minutes per day).
2 – By preserving dietary protein levels. By eating meat, fish, eggs (one to two times per day), and dairy products (three times a day, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese) daily, which can be achieved by Nutrisystem-like dietary regimens. One tip: when you eat a high protein food such as meat, fish, egg or dairy, within two hours of effort, the muscle mass is increased. On top of the great meals, Nutrisystem coupons are widely spread online.
What about fat?
Fat mass increases from 20 to 30%. It may take up 3-5 kilos, without this being an abnormal development.
Fat replaces muscle and develops in the abdomen, especially after the menopausal period. Physiologically, it is quite normal to have 3-4 kilos of it starting from age 50, but avoid taking more. That’s because we move less and therefore decrease muscle mass. We also lower the energy cost base, which necessarily encourages the development of fat.
Can we prevent fat increase?
Yes, we can prevent increased fat mass but without following restrictive diets because it aggravates muscle loss. A balanced diet rich in protein, like those from Nutrisystem programs, accompanied by physical activity is good enough. Be careful not to fixate on weighing lighter than you were years ago because this not only increases muscle wasting but also encourages the risk of malnutrition.
Why are seniors dehydrated?
A woman weighing 60 kg is 65% water, with the body containing up to 40 liters of water. At 75, a woman has more than 33, which means she lost 7 liters of water. The body loses 5 to 10 liters of water with age. Indeed, organs age and retain less water, as is the case with kidneys. The losses are higher and the contributions are lower. Older people drink less because the signal of thirst is not as urgent.
Can we prevent this dehydration?
Yes, we can prevent the loss of water by maintaining good fluid intake. Drink before you feel thirsty, up to six to eight glasses of water a day. The urine will be clearer. We need to increase water intake in the case of diarrhea, hot weather, or fever. Remember, a high level of dehydration in the elderly could be fatal. Water, fruit juices, broths, herbal teas, weak tea, soups, milk – all drinks are recommended, as well as food rich in moisture, like some of those offered in Nutrisystem menus.
What about fractures?
This is very worrying. About 300,000 fractures a year involves the wrist, hip, and vertebrae. You lose 2% of bone mass per year from the age of menopause. So, a 75 year old woman has lost 50% of bone mineral mass. With the cessation of estrogen, calcium and vitamin D deficiency, one has to be careful about bone aging and must also pay attention to one’s history of calcium deficiency, starting from childhood.
Can we prevent fractures?
Yes, by keeping physically active and having enough calcium (three to four dairy products per day) and vitamin D (sunlight, oily fish), both of which can also be found in certain dietary regimens like those of Nutrisystem. It is possible to have a bone densitometry to check bone condition. It can be reimbursed if done at the time of menopause.
Malnutrition of the elderly is it frequent?
About 30% of men and 50% of women over age 75 consume less than 1,500 kcal / day, which is similar to the caloric needs of adults. The malnutrition concerns 10% of the elderly at home and 30-50% of hospitalized subjects. The reasons are lack of appetite, isolation, depression, dental problems, insecurity, and unnecessary diets. The risks are deficiencies, weight loss, and reduced immune defenses.
Undernutrition is defined as rapid weight loss (2 to 3 kilos in a month) and albumin blood levels lower than 35g / liter.
Can we prevent this malnutrition?
Yes. We must feed the elderly as an adult; he has the same needs. If the appetite is low, you have to split the food into six small meals a day and focus on giving nutritionally interesting food, which also make up a lot of Nutrisystem’s menu:
– Meat, fish, and egg for protein.
– Dairy products for calcium and protein.
– Vegetables and fruits for vitamins.
– Sugar and sugar products for fun!
– Eggs, milk, and skimmed milk powder to enrich the dishes.
If that is not enough, you can request for oral nutritional supplements from pharmacies and vitamin supplement stores. You can also consider taking on pre-planned regimens like those of Nutrisystem. We must act quickly. Do not let the elderly eat less and lose weight; this is not normal.
The important points to remember
An elderly has the same needs as an adult, or even more because he retains less of what he eats. He should eat everything, not skip meals, and not restrict himself with unnecessary diets. All foods are important: meat, fish, egg, dairy, fruit and vegetables, as well as starchy foods. We must react very quickly when he eats less and loses weight Also, avoid dehydration. He must drink regularly and even before feeling thirsty. We must maintain the physical activities, the pleasure of eating, and social life.
Senior power: Revenue
When the elderly person enters old age, it is increasingly difficult to get him to eat and meet nutritional needs. However, other dietary options, like those of Nutrisystem, may offer an appealing option to the elderly.
Sylvie Gautron, a dietitian, and chef Yannik Strottner have launched the challenge to grind food while keeping the flavor and the pleasure of eating. After working for several years in a retirement home, they have now adapted recipes for residents and taught their colleagues in catering.