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Nutrition For The Elderly

Healthy eating and nutrition for the elderly is greatly impacted by several factors, one of them being a change in body composition.  During the later years in life, the body will lose bone and muscle and gain fat because the hormones aren’t very active anymore.

There are many factors which hinder an elderly person’s health.  The information below will help you to lead a healthy life – no matter how old you may be.

Water Water in the body decreases with age, so many older folks will become dehydrated very easily.  Sometimes they won’t feel thirsty, while other times it’s too much work to pour a glass a water.  With this in mind, it’s recommended that they drink at least 1 ounce of water for every 2.2 pounds of weight.

Protein At this stage in life, protein is very important. Protein is needed to support a healthy immune system and prevent the wasting of muscle.  Since energy needs are less, older folks should eat high quality protein such as eggs, lean meats, poultry, and fish.

Carbs and fiber Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the entire body.  You can find carbs in bread, cereals, pasta, and other grain products.  A diet that’s high in fiber and water will help to prevent constipation as well.

Fat Fat intake for the elderly should be limited, not eliminated.  You can limit fat by choosing lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and food preparation methods that don’t include frying. 

Iron For the elderly, iron deficiency can be seen with those who aren’t eating much.  Good sources for iron include lean red meats or breakfast cereals.

Zinc Zinc intake is normally with the elderly, and to make matters worse, it’s not absorbed very well either.  Meat, poultry, and fish should be a part of your diet to help you meet the requirements for zinc.

Calcium Calcium is one ingredient that most elderly folks simply aren’t getting enough of.  Most believe that milk upsets their stomach, and therefore they will avoid it.  They should be getting around 1,500 mg of calcium a day, and nonfat powdered milk can be used in recipes as a substitute for milk.  Other foods such as yogurt, low fat cheese, and broccoli can also help you meet the requirements for calcium.

Vitamin B12 In order to absorb the benefits of B12, the intrinsic facotr must be produced by the stomach.  Most elderly people suffer from a deficiency in B12 because they have a condition known as trophic gastritis.  This condition causes inflammation of the stomach, bacterial overgrowth, and the intrinsic factor. Without the intrinsic factor, this vitamin can be absorbed.

Each one of the above nutrients are needed to keep an aged body in good health.  Elderly individuals should try to stay active and strive for a well-balanced diet.  Even though the aged body isn’t the same as it used to be, proper care and the right nutrients can help the elderly enjoy a healthy and long life.

Atkins and Ketosis

The basic principle of the Atkins diet is that a state of ketosis will help you burn your fat stores as energy. Many people, even those who are on low carbohydrate diets, don’t quite understand ketosis and why it works.

Most diets are calorie-reduction diets. They help you lose weight, but some of the weight is from fat and some of it is from lean muscle tissue. While you may look smaller on the scale, your metabolism is actually slowing down. The more muscle you lose the slower your metabolism will be. This makes losing weight more difficult and gaining weight back even simpler.

The Atkins diet, on the other hand, is carbohydrate restrictive. It creates a state of ketosis in your body that burns only fat, and not muscle. The primary source of your energy for your body will be fat in the form of ketones. Your liver will convert fat into ketones and it cannot be converted back. It will be excreted naturally.

Ketones are actual a normally and efficient source of fuel for the human body. They are created in the liver from the fatty acids that result from the breakdown of body fat. These only appear when there is an absence of glucose and sugar. In the Atkins diet, you reduce the amount of glucose and sugar that is in the bloodstream. As a result, your body produces ketones for fuel. When your body is creating ketones it is called ketosis.

There is a common misconception that following a ketogenic diet like Atkins is dangerous. The truth is that being in ketosis is a completely naturally state. The human body creates ketones to use as fuel in the absence of glucose.

In the Atkins diet book, Dr. Atkins suggests using ketone-testing strips to determine your state of ketosis during dieting. These small plastic strips are held in the urine stream and contain a special chemically treated absorptive pad. This pad will change color if ketones are present in the urine. With the presence of ketones, the strip will change varying shades of pink to purple. There is a color scale on the label of the bottle that will help you determine your ketone levels.

Ketone strips are available in any pharmacy and can be found among the diabetic supplies. In some stores, they are kept behind the counter so you may have to ask for them. You won’t need a prescription to buy them though. Once you open a package of ketosis strips they have a shelf life of 6 months. It may be helpful to mark the opening date on the box.

Ketone strips will let you know if you are progressing correctly on the Atkins diet. If you are following the Induction plan to the letter and aren’t seeing purple, don’t worry. Some people never show trace amounts of ketones or they may show just above the minimum line. As long as you are losing weight and inches then you are successfully using ketones. Also, if you’ve just exercised a few hours before using the strips, you may not see purple.

Some dieters may mistakenly believe that a dark purple result on the testing strips means that they are losing weight faster. Actually, the darkest purple color is a sign of dehydration. It means that your urine is too concentrated and you need to drink water.

Ketones come from fat in the bloodstream, whether it is fat that you eat or fat that you burn. So if you eat a meal heavy in fat and then immediately use a testing strip, then you’ll see a dark purple result. Use the strips as a guide, but don’t get hung up on the color.

Reaching a state of ketosis is key to success on the Atkins diet and it as simple as eliminating carbohydrates from the diet. Make sure to follow the eating plan correctly and use the ketone testing strips as needed.

Dieting for Health

There is no greater reason to diet than for your personal health and well-being. Those of us who are overweight know better than most the risks and possible consequences that may result because of our weight. Much like smokers however, the risks do not always seem quite so cut and dry until we reach our very own turning point. Whether your eating habits are born of an addiction to certain foods, an emotional need, or years of learned behavior and conditioning things will not change until you completely adjust your eating habits and your lifestyle choices.

Dieting for many has become a lifestyle in and of itself with people rapidly flip-flopping or yo-yo from one diet to another with little success and growing despair over a sheer lack of results. The truth is that until you decide to forgive yourself for your failures and get right back on the wagon, so to speak, after falling off no diet is going to be successful. A simple diet isn’t going to magically make the pounds disappear and constantly depriving yourself of those things you enjoy most may have a more detrimental effect than a positive effect.

The number one thing most people need to learn is that dieting isn’t always a good thing. What most people who are overweight need more than anything else is to incorporate positive lifestyle changes into their daily routines. People scoff at the notion of taking the stairs or parking farther away and yet those are perfectly plausible methods of working a little more physical activity into your day. If those do not work for you how about learning to dance? Seriously, there are beginner dance classes in most communities that will welcome and invite dances of all ages, sizes, and fitness levels if you are willing to make the effort. What a great way to get fit, learn something new, and have fun without filling deprived.

Another great thing about an activity such as a dance class (consider ballroom dancing with your significant other) is that you are not eating or tempted to eat during the time that you are dancing in most cases. Another great thing is that you are burning those calories you didn’t eat. If dancing isn’t you thing, try joining a walking club or finding another hobby. Anything that gets you on your feet and away from the temptation of your refrigerator is a good thing when it comes to dieting and weight loss. You cannot lose a significant amount of weight by dieting alone. You must incorporate physical fitness into your daily routine in order to achieve those immediate and visually stunning results that many dieters are hoping to achieve.

Another pitfall when it comes to dieting is that people give up far too quickly. Just as the results are beginning and progressing people get tired of the process or frustrated that they aren’t accomplishing enough dramatic weight loss as quickly as they had hoped and give up all together marking off yet another failure when they could have achieved greater success than ever before if they had stuck with their original diet plan a little longer.

One more thing you should remember when it comes to dieting is that the scale can be your best friend or your worst enemy when dieting. If you are weighing yourself every day in hopes of watching the scale tick off yet another pound you are dooming yourself to failure. You will never achieve the results you are hoping for you if you are going into depressive bouts of Rocky Road or Chunky Monkey every night because you didn’t lose 10 pounds overnight.

When it comes to dieting there are very few diets that work. There are however, many lifestyle changes that when practiced consistently and aggressively will work. The thing to remember is that you are the one who must work because it is quite unlikely that any diet will.