NUTRITION IN OLD AGE

Peculiarities in nutrition are determined by age-related changes of the organs of taste and smell. With aging these organs are exposed to progressive change as the number of receptors is gradually reduced. Therefore gerontological dietetics (diet in the elderly) puts severe demands on culinary processing of food. It should not only be optimally balanced but also easily absorbable by the body. This suggests that one part of its mechanical processing must be done in advance which will provide the conditions for better fermentative impact.

Introduction of optimal amounts of proteins in the senile organism is of particular importance. Protein deficiency accelerates the processes of premature aging. A good example of this are vegetarians who therefore look shrivelled and older both externally and physiologically compared to their peers. It is recommended that around 60% of consumed proteins to be of animal origin as 30% of the latter to be in the form of milk and dairy products, the remaining 40% - of plant origin. It should be emphasized that the proteins of animal origin are the most rich in essential amino acids to the body. Only some proteins of plant origin possess amino acids similar to those of the animal. In this regard, a number of experimental studies and clinical observations support the view of fats restriction to an average of 50 - 70 grams per day. The amount of fats in the total calorific value of food should not exceed 25%. Rational combination of fats of different origin is of particular importance such as giving priority to vegetable oils. Their base composition is unsaturated fatty acids (linoleic, linolenic, arachidonic, etc.), they have certain biological properties and refer to vitally important substances for the body. Their most important feature is to normalize or correct the impaired lipo-cholesterol metabolism. For older people are advised sunflower, corn and other vegetable oils and animal fats (lard, tallow, hardened homogenized oils) should be avoided. Cow's butter, though being a fat of animal origin is recommended. It contains some anti-sclerotic factors with high biological activity. The food of older people should be low in fat and high in protein animal products - low-fat dairy products, fresh and lean fish, meat, etc.

It is assumed that of the carbohydrates greatest biological activity possesses fructose. It has a sweeter taste than other sugars and trace capabilities for raising blood cholesterol. Moreover, it is difficultly transformed into fat. Bakery products and sweets should be limited. In contrast, it is widely recommended the consumption of foods rich in cellulose (cabbage, carrots, peas, beans, etc.) and pectin (beets, carrots, oranges, peaches, lemons, etc.). On the other hand, excessive consumption of ballast substances (cellulose and pectin) in the diet of the old person hinders the digestion and impedes the absorption of proteins and fats.

The beneficial effects of vitamin C and the B vitamins in patients with atherosclerosis has been demonstrated by numerous experiments. Also known is the role of Vitamin D in the treatment of senile osteoporosis. For example, ascorbic acid (vitamin C) inhibits the biosynthesis of cholesterol and reduces its deposition in the arterial wall.

In middle-aged persons is oftenly found vitamin deficiency of ascorbic acid. In elderly the content of mineral substances in tissues is amended as in some people increases (aluminium, titanium, cadmium, zinc, lead, sodium) while in others decreases (copper, molybdenum, chromium, manganese, potassium, calcium, iron). The micro and macroelements play an important role in the activity of the endocrine glands, water metabolism, protein synthesis and so on. Any change in their proportion leads to a serious violation of metabolism.

Dairy products and fruit and vegetable food being rich in mineral substances increases the alkali reserve of the senile body. It has been scientifically established that more than 90% of obesity is due to the abundant feeding in inconsistent energy expenditure. Experiments have shown that laboratory animals fed with amounts of food more than needed live less compared to animals fed with a calorie insufficient but quality wholesome food.

Experiments show shortening of lives of 25% of animals fed mainly with fats compared to the control groups of animals consuming primarily carbohydrate and protein foods. The explanation of the greater life expectancy of starving animals is that in hypocaloric but full composition meal is decreased the speed of the metabolic processes which in turn leads to lowering of the degree of the damaging impacts.

Eating certain amount of fat is not as fatal to obesity as excessive abuse of carbohydrates. Adults and old people should avoid stress conditions of negative charge as a psycho-emotional strain can cause the release of endogenous cholesterol up to 1000 mg.

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