Seniors are believed to lose appetite in their aging years, and most seniors in Singapore are reported to be malnutritioned. Good nutrition should be of primary concern in advancing years: it pertains less medical and health insurance costs, and a longer, happier life.
This does not suggest that seniors should start eating more, but a balanced, nutrient-nutrient filled diet is necessary for an active older life. Metabolic rate decreases with age, and does the ability to digest large portions and amounts of food. So it’s not only how much is eaten, but what. Here are some tips on choosing a healthy diet:
- Choose brown rice and wholemeal bread for daily energy. This group of food is a rich source of nutrients, like B vitamins, folic acid, iron and copper, as well as high fiber. It prevents cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer. Four to six servings per day are recommended.
- Two servings of fruit and vegetables are recommended for good health. More than 60 per cent of Singaporeans aged 50 to 59 years do not meet the dietary recommendations for fruit. It goes even higher, 70 per cent, in the case of vegetables. The lack of fruits and vegetables in the diet is worrisome, because it reduces intake of essential vitamins, minerals and fiber. Apples and pears are recommended, along with pineapple, watermelon or papaya. For vegetables, try to mix meat meals with greens, taking one portion of meat, and two portions of vegetables.
- Meat, beans, fish and dairy should be taken three times a day. Surveys have shown that 40 per cent of Singaporeans aged 50 to 59 years and 50 per cent of Singaporeans aged 60 to 69 years are not meeting the dietary guidelines for this food group. Meat and alternatives are also a good source of B vitamins, zinc, selenium, phosphorus and iron. Lean meat is encouraged; vegetarians can go for tofu, beans and legumes
Eating healthy is as important as healthcare. It is the most important preventive measure to avoid old age diseases and illnesses, and in turn results in less medical expenses. A friendly reminder for our senior readers – this is a good time to enroll for a Medicare plan and take full advantage of it. And who likes to be ill any way!