A Nutritionist, Mr. James Oloyede has said that elderly people should not be given large portions of meals at once during each meal time.
According to Oloyede, a former director of nutrition services in Osun State, due to changes in the body system of older people, they should eat lesser portions of meals per day.
He explained that the capacity of the stomach of the elderly to take more food usually decreases due to the loss in elasticity in the stomach thus reducing the rate at which the stomach empties food into the small intestine. This, he said, calls for a small meal at a time for the elderly.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the nutritionist, added that while elderly people should be given smaller food portions, they must be loaded with nutrients essential for them at this age.
He said each meal should contain lean protein, healthy fats, fresh produce, and complex carbohydrates. Oloyede also warned against elderly people skipping meals, adding that to keep them from developing blood sugar or any other detrimental health issues susceptible at that age, eating five or six evenly spaced meals per day is recommended.
The expert said,
“As people get older, they may need fewer calories because they may be less active and therefore burning fewer calories day to day. The person may also have a lower appetite because of certain medications.
“In general, more nutrients in a smaller amount of food is a really good goal. The doctor can advise you on the best foods to consume for a higher nutrient density in smaller portions of food.
“Essentially, the intake of proteins should be increased in the elderly. Also, eating whole grains, fiber and water should be encouraged.”
In addition to eating healthy, he suggested that elderly people should take supplements like vitamin D, calcium, and B12 to ensure they have essential nutrients.