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Nutritional Requirements For Older Adults by The Purple Aubergine


“Old people should be heard but not seen. Young people should be seen, not heard.”

Nutritional Requirements For Older Adults

Our Reference Intake changes by age. Adult people are not acting like young people; they have reduced PAL (Physical Activity Level) and health issues. That includes chewing problems, high blood pressure problems, heart problems, cancer or problem with the immune system. To conclude, probably they suffer from mental health too.

Older adults should have a well-balanced diet rich in

  • Protein.
  • Vitamin D.
  • Vitamin C.
  • Folates.
  • Iron.

Research has shown that PEM (Protein-Energy Malnutrition) leads to sarcopenia and cachexia. These diseases can also underlie other conditions or significant diseases such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, and others. Why does this happen? In the previous articles, we saw the importance of proteins in the human body. Cells and tissues will not restore properly or take longer than usual with protein deficiencies. Many other processes, including digestion, will slow down or be difficult.

Vitamin D deficiency will occur if the skin is not exposed to sunlight. That is crucial for our skeleton system, as Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. People identify Vitamin C with the immune system, cold and flu. Vitamin C is much more than that. Vitamin C is the only nutrient that can go through the brain barriers and improve our mental health. Hat means reduced memory loss and supports our brain. Also, it stabilises blood pressure and helps the protein to carry oxygen all over the body or repair cells. It contributes to bringing haemoglobin and oxygen all over the body. An iron deficiency leads to anaemia. N nutritional Requirements For Older Adults

Nutrients Source of food
Protein Eggs, Meat, Fish, Tofu, Legumes.
Vitamin D Sunlight, Eggs, Milk, Almond
Vitamin C Oranges, kiwis, berries. S ch as broccoli or brussels sprouts, lemons, chilli and Nori.
Folates Green leaf, legumes, pulses and nuts
Iron Meat and fish. A so, green leaves such as spinach, kale and others.


Older adults need approx. 1840-2772 Cal/day. N nutritional Requirements For Older Adults

Accordingly, with the experts and with Eatwell Plate, the number of nutrients in our body should follow the guidelines suggested in the booklet provided by the link.

M any factors change by age, and older adults have a lower BMR (Basic Metabolism Rate), reducing energy consumption. We should have plenty of carbohydrates, followed by protein and fats. The Eatwell Plate also suggests excellent sources of macronutrients (Carbohydrates, Proteins and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Following a correct diet will help older people to maintain a healthy weight and go through the day. Besides, that will reduce the risk of obesity or malnutrition with related health issues such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, and death.

On the other hand, reducing too much the amount of energy intake can lead to malnutrition. In this case, people will experience symptoms related to starvation such as losing the ability to taste food, lax muscles, memory loss, difficulty to focus, eyes and skin problems. T eir body changes too, and they will have less fat and less muscle mass. Consequently, we need to consider these factors when we provide a menu to them. T at gives them a well-balanced amount of nutrients and, consequently, the right amount of energy they need. G od sources of nutrients for older people are Pasta, Bread, Rice. ( preferably soft bread as they cannot chew properly) Vegetables, fruits, lean meats and oily fish. N nutritional Requirements For Older Adults


The importance of healthy eating for older adults. Nu rational Requirements For Older Adults

Older adults do not require the same energy level as they did, but enough to comply with daily tasks and duties. They can reduce carbohydrates and increase the number of proteins. Having a healthy diet will bring many benefits to their body and brain. It will reduce the risk of health issues and obesity or nutrient deficiency issues. Besides, it will help to maintain a healthy weight. A healthy weight has a crucial role for our body and brain. Dai y problems with obesity are sweating, snoring, back pain, difficulty to move, anxiety and depression. The long-term symptoms can lead to severe health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, Irritable bowel syndrome, heart problems, cancer, and death.

Therefore, a well-balanced diet promotes a healthy lifestyle, which means better sleep, better mental health, and a better body. It reduces the risk of chronic diseases and helps live longer and happier.

High blood pressure and heart diseases are related to obesity and an unhealthy diet. These diseases are widespread in modern countries. We can find junk foods at any corner; alcohol to enjoy is part of the culture, and the lifestyle is not always the healthier we can have—people who work in the hospitality industry are an excellent example of that. Cancer, Osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes are health issues related to a bad diet and nutrient deficiency. Cancer is associated with overeating red meat, and diabetes is about insulin production due to the high intake of harmful sugars. To conclude, osteoporosis is related to deficiency of Calcium and Vitamin D.

The risk of malnutrition is widespread in our society. We live in modern countries where the risk of malnutrition is often associated with obesity. On t e other hand, people who live in developing countries associate malnutrition with starvation e nutrient deficiency. Diff rent factors affect people nutrition and diet. In m dern countries, we are constantly stressed, especially those who live in a big city. Many people wake and run to the kettle for coffee. They skip breakfast and run to work. Most of the time, there is not enough time to have a healthy snack, so everyone runs to the coffee and snacks machines, where they get one coffee and one unhealthy snack. People e who work for companies that offer lunch run for lunch and constantly assault the buffet. The opposite happens in developing countries where people die because they do not have enough water. In this case, malnutrition is related to starvation. N Nutrional  equirements For Older Adults

Sadly, junk food is at every corner. Most companies offer frozen processed foods at low prices. That sounds easier and more relaxing than cooking at home. Consequently, a healthy choice is constantly replaced by unhealthy foods choices.

If junk food is straightforward for many people, having access to food is very hard for some people. Especially older people and people who cannot use public transport. Nutr emotional issues and lack of mobility are significant barriers. People e in a wheelchair or who live far away from superstores and have a low income cannot afford local prices or public transport. To conclude even, teeth problems can make it difficult to follow a well-balanced diet.

Examples of barriers, patterns and strategies. Nutr tional Requirements For Older Adults

Mental and psychological wellbeing

Mental health issues are strictly linked to malnutrition. Research has shown that every nutrient we put in our body will affect our body and mood. On the other hand, people who suffer from mental health can develop nutrition issues. If w  constantly live in fear or panic, anxiety and depression can prevail in our good mood. Depression is associated with neurotransmitters such as Gaba and Serotonin. I was surprised to find out that 95% of Serotonin is produced in our gut. At t e same time, when we feel anxious, cortisol (hormone) increases, making unexpected hangers and weight gain. In this case, a well-balanced diet rich in good fats, vitamins, and antioxidants can help our brain and weight. Physical activity always helps our body and brain. With that, yoga and mindfulness can help cope with anxiety. Nutr tional Requirements For Older Adults

Medical conditions such as type 2 Diabetes, High blood pressure, Coeliac, IBS (Irritable Bowels Syndrome), and others affect people’s lives. In some cases, we need to reduce nutrients such as salt for people who suffer from HBP. Redu ing the amount of gluten is not possible for people who suffer from Coeliac. They, therefore, must introduce in their diet gluten-free products. Today, we are lucky enough to easily find many gluten-free products or even free from for people with multiple allergies or intolerances. When I was young, we could not find anything; besides, there were many stereotypes about people who ate healthy products. An excellent strategy to deal with this situation is to ask your GP what food the best for you is or buy good books from an accredited dietician. A dietician I follow is, for example, Patrick Holford, and I love his books. Foll wing this way, you can easily create your shopping list and always stock your cupboards and fridges with healthy items. We also have a lot of companies and superstores that deliver food to our homes. That includes Tesco and Asda. Besi es, some companies supply specific foods—for example, Gluten-Free or Low Fodmap foods for people who suffer from IBS.

Isolation and mobility. People can have different reasons why they isolate themselves. That includes mental health such as depression or struggles with family, health issues, low income and no access to public transport. As I said above, an excellent strategy to cope with that could be to place an online order from a superstore or approved suppliers.

Many older adults suffer from mental and psychological wellbeing. They are likely to skip meals or choose unhealthy foods such as takeaway or processed foods. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes will make them frustrated due to limited food. Their mental health can include loss of memory, procrastination, anxiety, and depression, which will stop them from eating properly. That will be worse if people leave  Isolated and have limited access to food. It is not strange that many homeless are older people who live alone, with low income and mental and medical issues in the grip of addiction diseases. Limi ed access to public transport, living on the third-floor apartment with no elevator in the building, or being in a wheelchair is excellent examples of eating patterns. By age, especially people who smoke will lose the ability to taste and smell. Besi es, they will have a problem with teeth. Low income can be a barrier too.


How can older adult improve their diet? Nutri ional Requirements For Older Adults

An excellent example could be a random 66 years old female. She has health issues such: Learning disability, overweight, high cholesterol, type2 diabetes. She also has four different barriers to a healthy diet: living alone in supported accommodation where junk food is provided and a low level of PAL (Physical Activity Level) duo to her lifestyle. In my opinion, it can be difficult for her to travel and carry bags at home from a superstore. She should ask for fresh food and be involved in social activities.

To summarise, Simone is not in the right place. She should stay in an environment that supports her with her disability learning, introduces her to social activity and provides fresh seasonal foods. Let’s try to help her by giving nutritional advice and a menu sample.

“First of all, how many calories you are taking in depends on whether or not you are taking insulin with your meals (type 1.) If you take mealtime insulin, you need to count carbs to match your insulin dose to the number of carbs in your foods and drinks. You may also take additional insulin if your blood sugar is higher than your target when eating. So, this will affect the amounts of insulin that you self-administer daily. If you are Type 2, you are not taking insulin with your meals, so life is less complicated. But you still have to count the carbs if you want to maintain your blood sugar levels. Wheth r they have type 1 or type 2 diabetes or not, everyone should be eating a balanced, nutritious diet appropriate for their age and activity levels. Staying hydrated is critical too. Drinking lots of water is an important part of maintaining good general health.”

  • Learning disabilities.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Type 2 diabetes (no insulin treatment). Nutri ional Requirements For Older Adults

While there is no specific menu for learning disabilities, foods can boost the brain. These are fruits and vegetables, mainly purple fruits and purple vegetables. They are plenty of oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Besides, the right amount of vegetables will help put down cholesterol levels. Lean meats and fishes are plenty of proteins and good fats that will contribute to maintaining a good level of weight. Besides, proteins will help cells with their functions, and good fats will substitute the lousy cholesterol. I  suggest plenty of complex carbs and cereals in the correct amount. Carbohydrates will provide a lot of energy, Simon will feel full, and reduce the craving for foods. Of cou e, the Sunday treat is advised in a moderate amount.

  Breakfast Morning snack Lunch Afternoon snack dinner

Calories suggested



Food to avoid

·       Deep-fried foods

·       Processed foods

·       Sweets and confectionery.

Suggested to include at least 15 minutes of physical activity every day. Preferi y Cardio exercises.



30g of Smoked Salmon

1 Brown bread Toast

One glass of fresh Orange juice

30g of Granola and 80g of low-fat yoghurt

1 cup of Almonds

60g of lean meat

75g of vegetable

70g of Plain pasta

1 banana smoothie

60g white fish

75g of vegetable

1 potato


2 scrambled eggs on brown toast

1 glass of low-fat milk approx. 200ml

1 cup of nuts

1 portion of Baba ghanoush (Aubergine Paste) with 1 brown bread

60g of meat or 60g white fish

75g of vegetable

Plain rice

Homemade salmon sandwich on brown toast with low-fat cheese

60g  white fish

75g of vegetable

Sweet potato


30g Porridge Oats

10g of mixed berries

1 glass of low-fat milk approx. 200ml

1 avocado

75g of Vegetable and 80g hummus

60g white fish

75g of vegetable


Mixed nuts

60g of meat

75g of vegetable

80g of rice


2 slices of Bacon and 50g of Baked beans

1 brown bread

1 glass of low-fat milk approx. 200ml

1 Tuna sandwich on brown toast (avoid mayo)

60g of meat


75g of vegetable

1 Lean meat chicken wrap

60g of meat

75g of vegetable

80g Bulgur weight


Two eggs Broccoli and spinach frittata.

1 glass of Fruit juice


1 portion of fruit salad


60g of meat.

Brow rice or  Wholemeal pasta or sweet potato

75g of vegetable


Bowl of olives and cheeses

60g white fish

75g of vegetable

80g Quinoa


200g of Cod kedgeree made with Brown Rice and Poached Eggs

1 glass of low-fat milk approx. 200ml

1 Rye Bread

60g of peanut butter


60g of meat or 60g white fish

75g of vegetable



Greek yoghurt with strawberry coulis 20g of fruits and fibre

60g of meat or 60g white fish

75g of vegetable

75g of wholemeal Pasta

Sunday T R E A T


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Nutritional Requirements For Older Adults



Older adult should have ebough calcium in their diet and vitamin d to avoid bones issues


Low Gi foods is more indicated for older adults, that will allow them to balance their sugar and cope with diabetes


A good balanced diet will help you to reach your goals faster. It will help you to focus and will shape your body .

Planning On Changing Your Lifestyle?

Trying to focus on the solution rather than the causes. That will lead you to a different level of thinking, reduce your stress, and make you feel better. Being constantly under stress increase the level of cortisol. Cortisol loves to help our body to store fat in our hips and our abdomen. Right now, we know how to identify our triggers and learn how to deal with them. After that, the biggest challenge has an action plan to prevent relapse. A good relapse prevention plan includes three main steps. Firstly, recognize your triggers, secondly, deal with them and finally use our self-efficacy to deal with them without back in the old habits.

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Nutritional Counsellor| specialised in Mental Helth and Eating Disorder| | Food Production

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