Although an advanced age does not have to automatically imply a loss of appetite, the truth is that many elderly people reduce their food intake excessively. Let’s see some options smoothies for those seniors who don’t eat. A poor diet in the elderly can cause many complications, and increase the risk of disease and mishaps. Hence, it is important to take care of your diet.
Malnourished elderly people are frequent
During the preparation of this post, we have been able to verify with Nathalie Gallaztegui Suarez and María Torres, two experts and workers of the Qida platform, that cases of the elderly with insufficient nutrition are frequent. The causes of loss of appetite they can be multiple, such as loneliness, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise or even some diseases.
People who care for the elderly often hear phrases like “at my age, it is normal to have little hunger”, But the reality is that the elderly need a normal diet. It’s more, require a higher protein intake than younger adults, and also need more calcium. The objective is to be able to strengthen the muscles, which atrophy over the years, and also the bones, which become more fragile.
What are the consequences for older people who don’t eat enough?
The vicious cycle of malnutrition and wasting
Eating in insufficient quantities causes a weakening of the elderly person. With less strength, you lose motivation to do activities. That can reduce your social life, and make it difficult to carry out small daily tasks, increasing their dependency. Also, by feeling weaker, the person is likely to have less desire to eat, which accentuates the vicious cycle.
The risk of falls and accidents
Less food means less energy, and more risk of losing balance, fall and get hurt. In addition, as the lower intake of food usually results in muscle loss, a part of the natural protection against injuries and blows is lost. Healthy muscles protect us much more than we think. And if you don’t eat enough calcium, risk of fracture increases significantly in the event of a mishap.
Malnutrition is a very serious condition in the case of older people, because weakens the immune system, and therefore significantly increases the risk of all types of infections. And that is compounded by the fact that many elderly already have previous illnesses, which further weaken them.
Poor nutrition also leads to thinning of the skin and poorer circulation. If we add a sedentary lifestyle to that, the risk of pressure ulcers increases, and their healing slows down.
Why are smoothies a good idea for seniors who don’t eat?
- It’s easier to drink than eat, especially for those who are weakened. The liquid format is the first of the advantages of making the elderly who do not want to eat drink shakes.
- The other great benefit of smoothies is that they can be easily made with many ingredients. In this way, you can prepare a mixture for a balanced diet.
- Normally, the shakes are made with a milk base, a fundamental food for its high calcium content.
- And, generally a shake has a sweet taste, which makes it more attractive to anyone. But, for the same reason, you should not abuse this type of food.
The need for a medical opinion
Before continuing with some examples of shakes, it seems important to highlight a very important point. The nutrition of the elderly is primarily a medical issue. The elderly often have illnesses, intolerances and allergies that severely restrict the list of foods they can eat. Therefore, before considering including shakes in the diet of an older person who does not want to eat, it is necessary to speak with the doctor to find out what they can and cannot include.
Examples of smoothies for seniors
The three necessary ingredients
- A milk, preferably traditional, due to its high calcium content. It can even be fortified milk. Generally, the best option is semi-skimmed, so as not to eat excess fat. But there are also other options such as soy or almond milk, although they tend to provide less calcium, and even less protein.
- A protein, which will generally be sought in the form of walnuts, almonds, peanuts, or even soybeans.
- One or more fruit, to provide fibers, vitamins and sugars. The list of fruits that can be included in a smoothie is almost endless, so I leave it to the reader’s imagination.
Of course, other ingredients can be added to give more flavor to the mixture, always thinking about having a healthy result.
An example: smoothie with almond and banana
The almond is one of the most interesting nuts, because it has a high protein and low fat. The banana, in turn, is an excellent source of potassium, it is rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, and it is a source of fiber.
Preparation. Let 20 grams of natural almonds soak overnight in milk (two cups). The next day, add a medium ripe banana, a teaspoon of cinnamon, and blend.
The best way to go is to try different options
Smoothies allow for many possibilities, but even good ideas don’t always turn out right the first time. It is important to do different tests, to achieve the desired flavor and texture. Once a varied list of shakes that the older person likes has been obtained, they can be included in their diet, according to medical opinion, to facilitate their eating. This way you can help achieve active and healthy aging and avoid falling into the dangers of poor diet.