Diet aging, aging diet care

By the year 2010, one in five people in the developed world will be aged 65 or over and the needs of an aging population will have a huge impact on society in the next century. Increasing research effort is being directed into ways of helping older people stay healthy, independent and mobile.

Lifestyle and environmental factors play a part in some of the most common age-related illnesses including heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, high blood pressure and chronic infection; which means that people have at least partial control over how well they age. Good nutrition early in life affects longevity and quality of life in later years.
Diet aging, aging diet careAging changes occur at different rates in different people and it is unclear exactly how these are related to diet and other lifestyle factors. However, there is plenty of scientific evidence to show that good eating habits throughout life can help to promote physical and mental wellbeing in aging people.

Diet and aging

The dietary needs of aging people in their fifties or sixties are different from those who are younger. For most vitamins and minerals, needs are higher; although for some nutrients they actually fall. The needs of people in their seventies and eighties are different again. Mainstream nutrition is beginning to recognize these differences and some of the new RDAs take into account the needs of those who are older. A good anti aging diet is necessary for everyone.

Energy intakes and energy expenditure vary widely among elderly people, and are very different in those who are healthy, sick or institutionalized. Older people tend to consume fewer calories than younger people, probably due to loss of muscle, reduced activity levels and lower metabolic rates. As total food intake decreases, individual nutrient intakes also decrease, making it more important to eat nutrient-dense foods and leaving less room for sweets and other empty calorie foods.

Deficiencies of many nutrients are common in elderly people. Normal changes associated with aging, some medications for chronic disease, and relatively common disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, constipation and diarrhea can result in higher requirements for some nutrients. Many social and physiological factors such as loneliness, limited income, reduced interest in food, decreased sense of smell and taste, difficulty in chewing or swallowing and reduced vision may also lead to changes in an older person's diet.

New research findings are being published all the time but relatively little is known about how the aging process affects the ability of the body to digest,

absorb and retain nutrients. The diets of elderly people are often deficient in Several nutrients including vitamins A, C, D, E, B12, thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin, folic acid, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc. These deficiencies may be due to lower dietary intake, decreased absorption, altered metabolism or increased excretion. They often develop slowly and may mimic the normal changes of aging. Elderly people are particularly at risk of marginal vitamin and mineral deficiencies and early recognition of malnutrition is very important in preventing diseases, maintaining a healthy immune system and increasing lifespan.


As many as 30 per cent of people aged over 65 develop the inability to produce stomach acid which can lead to reduced absorption of certain vitamins and minerals; including folic acid, calcium, iron and vitamin B12. By the age of 80, as many as 40 per cent of people may be unable to produce stomach acid. Improving digestion can be valuable in improving health in elderly people.

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