Nutrition for the elderly: basic principles, dietary features, advice and recommendations from experts
Nutrition for the elderly: basic principles, dietary features, advice and recommendations from experts

Video: Nutrition for the elderly: basic principles, dietary features, advice and recommendations from experts

Video: Nutrition for the elderly: basic principles, dietary features, advice and recommendations from experts
Video: Is There a Secret to Longevity? - YouTube 2023, September

Old age is a phenomenon programmed by nature. With its normal physiological course, this process is not complicated by the sudden onset of a whole bunch of diseases. Such old age is observed in practically he althy people who are considered elderly (at 60-74 years old), as well as old (at 75-90 years old). However, in most cases, this phenomenon occurs prematurely and is complicated by various kinds of ailments. But in both cases, a person undergoes a change in metabolism and the state of all systems and organs. Is it possible to correct the situation in any way? Influencing the nature and pace of physiological age-related changes will allow a change in the nutrition of an elderly person. If it is rational, it will be an important factor in the prevention of pathologies that appear in the process of physiological aging. There is a whole scientific discipline that studies the nutrition of people in the older age group. It is called gerodietics.

Why is it important for older people to eatright?

In the process of aging, the body undergoes multiple psychological and physiological changes. Nevertheless, such a phenomenon never has clear age boundaries. That is why some people, even at 70 years old, will look like 40-year-olds, while others at 50 can not be distinguished from pensioners. Why is this happening? The aging of the body depends primarily on the quality of life, which is based on proper nutrition. This is the main factor that affects the compensatory and adaptive capabilities, metabolism, the prevention of many ailments, etc. In the process of aging of the body, various kinds of age-related changes accumulate in it. They appear at the tissue, molecular and cellular level. There are also changes in the digestive system. The gastric mucosa becomes thinner. This reduces the ability of all cells to divide. Such changes deactivate the motor and secretory functions of the stomach. But that's not all. Simultaneously with these changes, there is a decrease in the level of acidity of gastric juice, which worsens the condition of the intestinal microflora. The pancreas becomes much less active enzymes. Accelerates the aging process and excess weight.

granddaughter with grandmother
granddaughter with grandmother

A balanced diet for the elderly will help maintain the body's performance and its normal state. This will significantly reduce the rate of aging processes. He althy eating and physical activity are key components to keepperformance and avoid illness at any age. It is especially important to adhere to this lifestyle for those who have crossed the 60-year mark. Such people just need to know the basic principles of nutrition of the elderly, which are considered by the science of gerodietika.

Energy value of the diet

In elderly people, in direct proportion to their age, the metabolic processes of the body decrease. The change concerns the work of the nervous and endocrine systems, the nutrition of each individual cell.

vegetables and fruits
vegetables and fruits

The elderly body is characterized by a decrease in energy consumption. A person reduces his physical activity, because of which he has a reduction in muscle mass. At the same time, the body no longer needs so much energy and nutrients. In this regard, according to the science of gerodietics, the caloric intake of an elderly person over 60 years of age should be 1900-2000 kcal for women. The norm for men is 2000-3000 kcal.

Variety of daily diet

What should an elderly person eat? One of the principles of its organization is the diversity of the food set. This will give the body everything it needs for its life.

Among the dietary habits of the elderly is the restriction of the use of strong broths (fish and meat). Less should be on the table of offal, fatty meat, eggs, fatty dairy products (due to the large amount of cholesterol they contain). Older people should not eat a lot of pasta, rice, legumes, s alty and smoked foods, sugar, cream,confectionery, rich flour and puff products, as well as chocolate. In addition, cooked meals should be gentle on the gastrointestinal tract and chewing apparatus.

Acceptable in the diet of an elderly person are sweet and sour or water-diluted juices of berries and fruits, as well as tomatoes. The inclusion of low-fat and weak broths, vinegar and citric acid, spicy vegetables (garlic and onions, dill and herbs, parsley, etc.) in the daily diet is welcome.

old people at the table
old people at the table

The diet of an elderly person should include foods that help normalize the intestinal microflora. These are pickled and pickled vegetables, fermented milk drinks, as well as everything that is rich in dietary fiber. The diet of the elderly should include such dishes that will be easily digested by the digestive organs. Products that stimulate the motor and secretory functions of the gastrointestinal tract are also needed. In the daily menu, it is important to provide for the presence of food that normalizes the intestinal microflora.

Eating routine

What are the dietary habits of the elderly? The next principle of gerodietics is the observance of the correct diet. Compared to that which was at a young age, it should be more uniform. The diet of an elderly person must be made regular. At the same time, the intervals that take place between meals should not be made long. It is also not recommended to eat a lot of food. An older person should eat four times a day. His breakfast should contain 25% of the total dailyenergy value of food, lunch - from 15 to 20%. At lunch, this figure increases from 30 to 35%, and at dinner it ranges from 20 to 25%. Before a night's rest, sour-milk drinks or raw fruits and vegetables are desirable.

If there is a recommendation from doctors, an elderly person should arrange fasting days for his body with the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, kefir and curd products in the diet. Total fasting is not recommended.

Proper nutrition for older people with existing diseases includes 5 meals a day. The distribution of the energy value of food in this case looks like this:

  • breakfast - 25%;
  • lunch – 15%;
  • lunch - 30%;
  • first dinner - 20%;
  • second dinner - 10%.

In addition, a 5-time regimen is also recommended in the diet of an elderly person after 80 years. People of this age tend to gain weight, which negatively affects the he alth of the body.

Eating a recumbent elderly person should also be 5-6 times a day. It is better if the meal for such a patient will be made at certain hours. This will allow the body to start producing gastric juice at the same time, which will improve appetite and digestion.

Customization of nutrition

This is another principle that older people should adhere to when designing their daily menu. It consists in taking into account the peculiarities of metabolic processes, as well as the state of certain systems and organs. In addition, older people should take into account their long-term habits ineating food. So, the nutrition of people of age who do not have special he alth problems does not include a ban on the use of certain foods. In this case, you can talk about more or less preferred food.

doctor with an old woman
doctor with an old woman

Unacceptable is monotonous food. It will definitely cause a shortage in the body of certain substances. It is physiologically impossible to justify the transition of people of age after their usual diet to strict vegetarianism. The same applies to separate meals, to eating only raw food, as well as to other non-traditional methods.


What should be the rational diet of the elderly? As for the protein composition of food, scientists have not yet unequivocally decided this issue. In an aging body, there is a decrease in the synthesis of hormones, enzymes, protein structures, and tissue regeneration is not so active. What conclusion can be drawn from this? It is very difficult for the body of people of age to absorb proteins from meat. This happens due to a decrease in the efficiency of digestive enzymes. At the same time, the breakdown of proteins increases. Their loss by the body also increases.

Also, scientists have found that limited nutrition, which reduces human immunity in youth, has the opposite effect in old age. That is why over the years, protein intake is recommended to be reduced to 1 g / 1 kg of weight. On the other hand, the regeneration of obsolete, worn-out cells is important for the elderly. And for this process, protein in the body mustcome in sufficient quantity. Otherwise, those age-related changes that are associated with metabolism will worsen.

Animal proteins

From those products that contain animal proteins, older people are advised to give preference to milk, fish, and lean meats. As first courses, it is advisable to cook vegetarian soups (vegetable, dairy, cereal and fruit). But fish and meat broths should be included in the diet of an elderly person no more than two or three times a week. Recommended for older people are carp, pike and zander. In addition to river fish, sea fish can also be included in their menu. These are cod varieties (pollock, hake, navaga, cod, etc.). Fish in the diet should not be more than 75 g per day.

As for eggs, an elderly person can eat only 2-3 of them a week. It is also desirable that they be served soft-boiled or as an omelet on the table. However, recommendations from nutritionists to reduce the number of eggs for older people are most associated with cholesterol, which is part of the yolk. But protein can be attributed to the products that are most optimal in terms of amino acid composition. That is why an egg without a yolk can be eaten daily by older people.

In the diet of an elderly person, dairy products must also be present. They will provide the body not only with protein, but also with calcium, which is necessary for the prevention of osteoporosis. Older people are recommended to include daily in their menu 100 g of fat-free or a maximum of 5% cottage cheese, as well as low-fat cheeses in the amount of 10-30 g. With good tolerance by the bodymilk should be in the daily menu 300-400 ml.

Special benefits for maintaining he alth will bring curdled milk, kefir and acidophilus. These products include in their composition lactic acid bacillus, due to which the normal composition of the intestinal microflora is maintained and the development of putrefactive processes is blocked. Kefir for the elderly should be consumed daily. Nutritionists recommend one glass before bed. In addition, kefir is recommended to be included in the diet for constipation in the elderly. The treatment of this unpleasant phenomenon is especially effective when one tablespoon of any vegetable oil is added to a glass of fermented milk drink. Such a tool quickly fixes problems.

Vegetable proteins

They should also be on the menu of an elderly person. In the body, vegetable proteins should come at the expense of legumes and grains. However, the first of them often cause rumbling in the stomach, heartburn, belching, increased gas formation, and even stool disorder.

elderly woman
elderly woman

In the diet for diarrhea in the elderly in such cases, it is recommended to include green peas. As for cereals, the most useful of them are oatmeal and buckwheat. It is desirable to add milk to the porridges prepared from them, which will improve their amino acid composition. Barley and millet groats are included in the diet if they are well tolerated. But the use of rice by the elderly should be limited due to a decrease in the motor activity of the gastrointestinal tract. Semolina is recommended only for those people who need a sparing diet.

The intake of vegetable protein in the body is also carried out when eating bread. It is better if it is rye, from whole grains, from wholemeal flour or with bran. These breads are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, which improves intestinal motility.


What should be a balanced diet for the elderly? In their daily diet, in addition to proteins, fats should also be present. However, their consumption decreases with age to 30% of the calorie content of all products. Only in this case it is possible to provide a balanced diet without causing any negative consequences for the body. In addition, by reducing fat intake, the daily menu becomes he althy. Adhering to it, older people carry out an excellent prevention of the development of atherosclerosis. However, the main thing in this matter is not to overdo it. With an excessive restriction of fats (less than 20% of the daily requirement), the quality of nutrition deteriorates significantly.

Animal fats

The intake of natural fats into the body of the elderly should be carried out with the use of butter. It is easily digestible. During the day, an elderly person should consume 15 g of butter, adding it to cooked food before serving.

Note that patients with hyperlipidemia should limit their intake of this product, as well as other products containing animal fats.

Vegetable oils

What should an elderly person eat? In the daily diet of elderly people, the presence of vegetable oilsshould be increased in proportion to age. However, this must be done with caution, because with an uncontrolled increase in the volume of vegetable oils on the menu, you can significantly weaken the intestines. It is also important to ensure that there is no shortage of this product in the diet.

vegetable oils
vegetable oils

The result of this can be a "fatty" liver. In addition, it should be borne in mind that vegetable oils have an antioxidant effect, slow down the processes of degenerative changes in organs, reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and have a choleretic effect, which is extremely important for all older people.


The amount of these substances in the meals of the elderly should be limited. This is due to the general decrease in energy consumption for the age under consideration.

Simple carbohydrates

Restriction of this element in the diet of an elderly person should be carried out at the expense of sweets and sugar. At the same time, fruits, vegetables, and grains are welcome in the diet of an elderly person in sufficient quantities.

Excessive consumption of simple carbohydrates in old age can cause overstrain in the functioning of the pancreas. The result is the development of diabetes. Also, simple carbohydrates adversely affect the functions of the biliary tract and liver. That is why an elderly person should consume sugar from 30 to 50 g in one day. Doctors recommend giving preference to honey, berries and fruits, in which sugar is represented by fructose.

Dietary fiber

HowShould the elderly be fed? Older people are advised to develop their daily diet with a large number of foods with complex carbohydrates and, first of all, these are dietary fibers. These substances will satisfy the body's need for energy by 5%. Soluble dietary fiber contributes to the activation of intestinal motility, and also normalizes stools. Due to this, they are an effective measure for the prevention of dysbacteriosis, diverticulosis, and colon cancer. Dietary fiber perfectly adsorbs toxic substances, and also improves the intestinal microflora. In addition, their work can reduce the level of bile and cholesterol in the blood.

Aged people need to eat in such a way that their body receives from 25 to 30 g of fiber per day. To do this, they need to eat apples and cabbage, cereal bran, carrots and oranges. These foods are essential in the diet for constipation in the elderly. They are treated by activating the activity of the intestines.


These useful substances are necessary for a person at any age. However, older people have an increased need for vitamins. Why is this happening? Yes, because the aging body absorbs them much worse. But vitamins are necessary to stimulate redox processes. They are also designed to improve the processing of cholesterol and fats in the body. In addition, vitamins P and C help strengthen the walls of the arteries. This allows you to maintain the he alth of blood vessels and the heart. To replenish these elements, older people should include in their dietnutrition cabbage, citrus fruits and sweet peppers.

Vitamins of groups B, E and others are important for human he alth. To maintain a nutritious diet, older people should eat fresh fruit. Additionally, it is recommended to take multivitamin preparations.


The diet of any person should include foods rich in trace elements such as calcium and magnesium, copper and chromium, zinc and iodine. This is especially true in old age, because calcium maintains he althy bones, which helps to avoid osteoporosis. A large amount of this element is found in dairy products. However, older people should include only fermented milk products and cottage cheese in their daily menu. Cheese, for example, will be absorbed quite poorly by an aging body.

Necessary for the elderly to maintain he alth and an element such as magnesium. With its sufficient intake, stress will be easier to endure, kidney stones and such an unpleasant phenomenon as hemorrhoids will appear less often. Quite a lot of magnesium is found in beans and peas, millet and oatmeal, as well as in buckwheat.

Iodine, which is enough in seafood, activates the process of cholesterol breakdown.

Eating products with selenium is a preventive measure to prevent cancer. The source of this mineral is wheat bran and yeast, seafood and barley, as well as pearl barley, offal and yolk. The absorption of selenium by the body can be largely prevented by flour and sweet foods containing in their compositionsimple carbohydrates. This must be taken into account when compiling a menu for an elderly person.

Important for the he alth of the aging body and zinc. It is an indispensable component in the processes of bone formation, makes people more resistant to stress, colds, and has a positive effect on the condition of the skin. This element is especially important for older men. It helps prevent prostate cancer and the development of prostatitis. The most affordable sources of zinc are mackerel and herring, mushrooms and oatmeal, garlic, wholemeal bread.

Drinking mode

In the diet of people aged should be present 1.5 liters of fluid in laziness. And only if there are indications for that, it should be limited. Elderly people are advised to drink compotes and juices, rosehip broth, weak tea with lemon and milk. However, many of them are used to something else. Most people throughout their lives have consumed strong tea and coffee, and it is quite difficult for them to give up this eating habit. It is not necessary to deprive them of such a need. To maintain he alth, older people should be advised to drink no more than 1 cup of coffee with milk or chicory daily, as well as the same amount of strong tea, but only with milk or lemon.

For those over 80

It is especially important to properly organize nutrition for older people after 80 years. Due to changes in the chewing apparatus, completely different requirements for the choice of products, as well as for their culinary processing, appear. Elderly people should give their preference to easily absorbed anddigestible food. This list includes fish, minced meat and cottage cheese. People over 80 should eat more carrots and beets, pumpkins and zucchini, tomatoes and cauliflower, and mashed potatoes.

elderly woman with a glass of juice
elderly woman with a glass of juice

Sweet varieties of fruits and berries, apples and citrus fruits, lingonberries and black currants are recommended to them. But the use of cabbage should be limited, because this product leads to increased fermentation processes. In case of violations of the digestive system, as well as exacerbations of colitis, cholecystitis and gastritis, the prepared food should be mashed. Its temperature will also be of great importance. Food for the elderly should be neither too hot nor too cold.