have they eaten well? nutrition for strength
Our parents often love to ask us, "Have you eaten?"
They worry about whether their children eat well and eat enough, but do we show the same level of concern to our parents as they grow older?
It is something to be thankful for if your parents still enjoy good appetites as they age. Research shows that people tend to eat less food as they age — particularly protein-rich and calcium-rich foods — and their bodies do not process nutrients as efficiently.
In fact, here in Singapore, eating well has been a challenge for adults. The National Health Survey revealed that adults are not fulfilling the requirements of a well-balanced diet. They tend to eat too much of carbohydrates, fat and salt. Perhaps it is time to ask your Pa or Ma to cut back on the char siew, nasi lemak and curry chicken…
Look out for these important nutrients on their plates
Essential to help build muscle tissue
- Beans, eggs, poultry, fish, meat, nuts & seeds
Also important for muscles to function properly and to improve bone strength
- Salmon, tuna, mackerel, egg yolks, mushrooms
Helps build strong bones
- Milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines with bones, tofu, leafy greens, tau kwa
OMEGA - 3
Good fat blend
- Mackerel, salmon, anchovies, sardines, tuna, walnuts, flax seeds
VITAMIN B12 & C
Helps reduces tiredness and fatigue
- Vitamin B12: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, meat, milk product
- Vitamin C: Citrus fruit, tomatoes, peppers, kiwi, broccoli
Strength suffers from poor nutrition
One of the immediate implications of being under-nourished is that our strength starts to fade away due to a loss of muscle. A diet that lacks key nutrients such as protein accelerates muscle loss. In fact, to combat muscle loss, older adults need nearly twice as much protein as younger adults! Studies show that between 40 and 70 years of age, we lose up to 8% of muscle mass every decade. For those above 70, this rate doubles to 15%!
Thankfully, muscle loss can be slowed down with the right nutrition – don't let your parents tell you it’s "just old already lah".
Changing their die-hard eating habits can be difficult, but don't give up easily! The Health Promotion Board recommends that older adults who face issues with maintaining a well-balanced diet can take oral nutritional supplements (also known as complete and balanced nutrition) to boost their nutritional intake.
You can show them you care for their well-being by cooking them food they like, but in healthier versions. Not sure how to? Here are some simple and tasty recipes that incorporate Ensure, a complete and balanced oral nutrition supplement, in ways you may not expect.
Nourish your parents today
Adapted from the CGH 'Eat Well Stay Well' Recipe Book
The next time your parents ask you whether you have eaten, ask them back – encourage them to pay attention to whether they are eating a well-balanced diet that is rich in protein & vitamin D!