What happens to the body in old age?

Aging is accompanied by increased release of free radicals in the body, which induces oxidative damages to cells and tissues. This leads to low immunity, weakening of the muscles and fatigue, digestive problems, greying of hair and a decreased skin tone. In 80% of the individuals, old age is further marked by coinciding diseases like diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and hypertension which further leads to the worsening of the health and quality of life in the elderly population.

Why is diet important in old age?

Numerous studies conducted worldwide, have proved that nutrition is one of the key determinants of health status perceived by one irrespective of age. World Health Organization (WHO) also emphasizes on the concept of “healthy lifespan” and urges on increasing the ratio of healthy lifespan to total lifespan. Old age demands nutrient requirement changes and an appropriate diet that can help in optimal repair of the tissues and keep the muscles active. Intake of natural antioxidants, fluids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and functional food are crucial in keeping one healthy and also in delaying the aging related changes.

Here are some of the must have food for old people

1. Apple

As rightly said “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, this fruit has magical nutrients like polyphenols, phloretin, proanthocyanidin, vitamin B2, epicatechin, and rutin. These micronutrients in apple act as strong antioxidants and have shown proven efficacy in people with cardiovascular diseases. Apple is also reported to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer, mostly in context of lung cancer.

2. Cereals

Cereals are the pillars of Indian daily diet. Cereals like wheat, barley, millets, and beaten rice are enriched with minerals, vitamins, carbohydrates and proteins. Intake of unrefined cereal is a good source of fibres as well. Daily one or two servings of cereal food like chapatti, dalia, upma is ideal for maintaining a good bowel, lowering cholesterol and keeping one energetic throughout the day.

3. Soybean or Soyprotien

Soybeans are another excellent source of protein, loaded with essential amino acids in adequate amounts. The major flavonoids found in soyabean are daidzein and genistein which have marked antioxidant properties. It is an unbelievable fact that soybean is also seen to increase the mean life span in fruit flies. It is also a boon for vegetarians as an alternative to animal proteins. Soy protein is reported to be effective in prevention and cure of cholesterol diseases, bones loss, and cancer.

4. Black Rice

Black rice is found to be a great source of antioxidant polyphenol, vitamin E and fibers. The chemicals in black rice enhance the antioxidant enzyme activity; a regular intake is beneficial in prevention of cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer’s diseases. It also helps in curing inflammatory conditions.

5. Blue Berries

Blueberries are enriched with polyphenols and possess a very strong antioxidant potential compared to other vegetables and fruits. The nutrients present in blueberries are found to decrease the physiological and cellular changes due to ageing. Another study has also proven that daily consumption of the blue berry juice can improve memory functions in elderly.


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