Seniors eat less and absorb little

As they age, the elderly (especially women who do not live in a senior facility) tend to take in fewer calories and fewer carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins, and minerals, increasing the risk of undernutrition. This means that their carbohydrate, folate, vitamin E, and calcium intake is often lower than the recommended value, while their saturated fat (”bad fat”) intake is often above recommended levels. This can be explained by a decrease in consumption of various foods that provide essential nutrients, such as potatoes, meat, milk, bread, fruits, and vegetables.

The physiological effects of aging further aggravate the situation. Elderly people do not absorb nutrients as well, meaning that they should consume more foods that offer protection.

Similarly, dental problems and a sensitive mouth often lead seniors to give up crunchy fruits and vegetables, as well as any other foods that are too hard in texture.

Eating more vegetables to fight undernutrition

Numerous studies have shown that consuming vegetables on a regular, daily basis helped people better maintain satisfactory health and a better quality of life.

Tips for eating more vegetables

There are a few tips to help seniors eat vegetables:

  • Choose well-cooked vegetables, such as canned or preserved asparagus or green beans. They are just as rich in vitamins and minerals.
  • Enjoy brothy and blended soups each day. You can still access and benefit from vitamins and minerals that have dissolved in the broth.
  • Consider having cooked vegetables as appetizers: beets and leeks are delicious and easy to eat in salads.
  • In case of difficulties chewing, choose naturally soft vegetables such as avocados, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and beets.
  • Don’t forget dry legumes, which are packed with minerals, fiber, and trace elements. A lentil salad makes a delicious appetizer.

Want to learn more? The Louis Bonduelle Foundation explains the keys to continuing to enjoy eating and protecting your health while aging in the file it published, ”How to Eat to Age Better”.