In principle, the same applies to older people as it does to everyone else: those who eat healthy and varied diets stay fit longer. Vitamins and minerals as well as sufficient fluids help strengthen the immune system and prevent illnesses. Here seniors receive tips for a healthy diet.
Beware of vitamin D deficiency
Human skin forms vitamin D during the day outdoors, even in cloudy skies. Especially in autumn, when the sun's rays are less intense, around 80 percent of seniors fail to produce enough vitamin D or to absorb it through their diet. This can lead to a vitamin D deficiency - an important risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. The precursor for in-house production in sunlight is beta-carotene, which is found especially in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin D-rich foods include egg (yellow), cod liver oil and saltwater fish.
Fruits and vegetables five times a day
Fruits and vegetables are real powerhouses: Antioxidant agents such as vitamins C and E as well as beta-carotene, minerals and phytochemicals protect against atherosclerosis (arteriosclerosis) and have been proven to support the brain function of seniors. Every day it should be two to three portions of fruit and at least two portions of vegetables, half of them as raw food.
When chewing problems carrots, kohlrabi and celery can also finely grate or sauté (in their own juice or with little fat or liquid), so that they are barely firm. As the sensation of taste and smell decreases with age, the dishes should be seasoned with plenty of fresh herbs and spices. Salt should be used rather sparingly, but if salt, then use iodine salt with fluorine.
A lot of drinking is important
Many seniors forget to drink enough. Cause is above all a reduced thirst feeling. Often, older people have misconceptions about their fluid requirements, are afraid of going to the toilet at night, or simply forget to have a drink. In addition, increased fluid is often excreted as a result of a reduced ability of the kidneys to concentrate. Fever, diarrhea, diabetes or increased sweating in a dehydrated body very quickly leads to an acute deterioration of the general condition to mental confusion.
Make sure to drink at least 1.5 liters per day! Suitable drinks are not or only slightly sweetened herbal or fruit teas, juice spritzers or mineral water. Best ready drinks are always ready: at every meal, but also in between. Water-based foods such as soups, compotes or salads also help to balance the water balance.
Food and nutrient density
For most people, the energy requirement decreases continuously from the age of 40 years. However, the need for vitamins, minerals, proteins and fiber remains the same or even increased. Seniors must therefore eat foods with high nutrient density. These are those that contain many nutrients but low calories: In addition to all fruits and vegetables, these are whole grains, potatoes, fish and low-fat meat and sausage.
Dairy products are particularly important and versatile: Sour milk products such as yoghurt, sour milk, kefir or buttermilk are often better tolerated than fresh milk. Their high calcium content protects the bones from osteoporosis.
There is no way to prevent aging. However, a well-balanced and appropriate diet and plenty of exercise in the fresh air help to maintain physical and mental fitness, thus ensuring quality of life and satisfaction.