Ideal Diet for Senior Citizens
Bonny Shah

Bonny Shah
4 August 2020

This article is authored by Bonny Shah. Bonny is a Registered Dietitian and a Certified Diabetes Educator.

Food is something that is very essential for the growth of the body, but it becomes more essential when our body starts to age; one cannot ignore nutrition for old age. As we age, the metabolism works at a much slower rate than before, giving rise to a plethora of complications and health problems. In order to tackle these problems, one must understand the importance of a healthy diet, nutritious food for old people that should be consume on a daily basis.

There are scores of wholesome foods which can help boost our immunity and help us stay healthy. But it is important to understand that during this stage of life, only the foods that are compatible to the body are consumed. What is good for one body may not be good for the other. At the same time, it is crucial to keep in mind that food that we eat is the primary source of nourishment. To avoid illnesses and disorders, seniors should keep in mind their dietary needs and include foods for old people that help them achieve their health goals.

While every individual is different, here are some foods that can help you stay healthy and fit –

Meat, Poultry and Eggs:Eat BreakfastIt is important to have the right amount of meat, poultry and eggs in your diet as it can help you incorporate protein in your diet. Proteins are made up of multiple amino acids and these amino acids that are required for the growth and development of the cells and tissues and provide energy to the body. At the same time, meat and eggs should be consumed as per your individual dietary needs as excess may lead to cardiovascular problems. Thus, figuring out what is important for nutrition for old age.

Pulses: For vegetarians, pulses and dals are the major source of protein, dietary fibre and many other vitamins and minerals. They also contain “Phytochemicals” (Plant chemicals) which may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and other diseases. Furthermore, it is even proven that a portion of pulses in food for old people may help lower blood pressure and reduce LDL Cholesterol levels.

Legumes are a good source of resistant starch which is broken down by bacteria in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids used by intestinal cells for food energy. Seniors can incorporate this in their diet along with rice which serves as a whole and complete meal.

Fruits & Vegetables: It is said that your plate must look like a rainbow i.e. bright and colourful. Vegetables like spinach, broccoli and gourds are packed with essential nutrients like iron and a diet lacking in iron can result in low energy, headaches, irritability, dizziness and anaemia. Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of fibre and antioxidants which should be incorporated in the daily routine, essential for nutrition for old age.

Whole grains: A good example would be brown rice which is rich in fibre and in turn lowers cholesterol levels and also prevents the formation of blood clots. Dal Khichdi is also a good option which provides a wholesome and scrumptious meal. Made from toor dal and rice along with garlic, tomatoes and onions, this provides a tangy flavour to the dish and also a plethora of nutrition to the body. Try Tata Sampann unpolished toor dal as it is purer and cleaner that loose dal which is available in the market. It comes from the farms of Maharashtra and Karnataka, which are known for superior quality of produce.

Low-fat dairy (milk and milk products: It is important for senior citizens to consume milk and milk products mainly that are low in fat. By doing so the calcium intake is very well taken care of, ostracising the bad bacteria (i.e. fat). Calcium is an important nutrient for bone development. If the body does not receive adequate calcium it will start stealing the calcium from the bones, leaving the bones brittle and weak. Foods rich in calcium are milk, salmon, dahi, and other milk products. On the flip side too much consumption of calcium can also lead to the development of kidney stones, hence we suggest that consumption is done in moderation.

Prebiotics and probiotics - Radish These are also essential for immunity and a healthy gut. Dahi is a source of probiotics. Probiotics are bacteria that are very similar to or to the good-bacteria colonies that are already in our gut. Prebiotics are a type of plant fibre which are often found in vegetables that nourishes good bacteria. Other good sources of prebiotics include chickpeas and bananas.

It is also essential to consume a good amount of water to replace the daily fluid loss and to prevent constipation. Consume healthy nuts alike almonds, walnuts that provide you with essential fats.

It is advised to not indulge in refined foods with excess sodium and sugar in them as snack. Instead have a fresh fruits and dry fruits to snack on. While it is okay to indulge into such evening snacks once in a while, it is best to avoid making it a habit.

It is highly recommended to consult a registered dietitian or a qualified nutritionist to understand your dietary needs. Food is very essential for one’s growth and development. Seniors should be extremely cautious as to what is going into their systems mainly because nutrition for old age is very essential; at this stage in life, multiple health problems may arise and may manifest into alarming ones.

While diet plays a pivotal role in staying, exercise matters too. Get your blood flowing; whether it is a small walk in the garden or half an hour of yoga every day. Exercise can help you boost your immunity and can make you feel a whole lot better. Along with exercise, you must also do the opposite - that is ‘rest’. A minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep is required for the body in order to carry out daily functions and activities. A healthy body and a healthy mind are two keys to a long and healthy life. Take care of your diet and stay happy and fit in your senior years.


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