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Simple steps to improve nutrition in the elderly

It’s so sad, but also frustrating to read about the massive problem of malnutrition amongst the elderly. It’s great news that there are programmes starting up to tackle the problem, but these are only operating in selected regions at the present time.

As we grow and move into different life stages the balance of nutrients we require in order to thrive changes. It’s sensible, therefore, to suggest that we should check in for an MOT with a nutritional therapist or dietician to re-evaluate our diet at least every decade so that we can optimise our health rather than struggle through the aging process.

Eating healthily really doesn’t have to be complicated nor expensive. Here are some simple steps that can be taken to help boost nutrient intake in the elderly:

· If you don’t have a large appetite eat little and often.

· For problems with chewing try slow cooked stews and casseroles, soups, scrambled eggs and even smoothies for meals. Good snacks include yoghurts, purees, smoothies and soft cheese.

· Chopping vegetables, pureeing or incorporating them into smoothies can make them easier to eat.

· Include a portion of protein at every meal e.g. eggs for breakfast, cheese at lunch and meat or legumes at dinner to avoid muscle loss and to help avoid dips in energy.

· Avoid low fat foods, go for full fat milk and dairy products to boost energy intake and to ensure a good source of fat soluble vitamins.

· Eat wholegrain foods to boost your fibre intake e.g. swap to brown bread and brown rice to to reduce constipation and boost nutrient intake.

· Drink in between meals to avoid filling yourself up before you eat and aim for 1500ml a day to avoid dehydration and to help with constipation.

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