Eating healthy is vital to children, adolescents, young adults, and old people. As the emphasis is on choosing healthy foods and being healthy, it is equally important to make eating a sociable and enjoyable activity that we look forward to. A research conducted by the World Health Organization (2015) on the Australian nutrition status indicates that most old people in Australia take poor diets, do not take enough minerals and vitamins, and not eat sufficient fiber. It is evident that when the body does not get the essential nutrients, the health of the body becomes questionable. In order to adopt a good lifestyle, a proper diet should be combined with regular activity, which can include dancing, swimming, and walk. Exercises are essential for the functioning of the heart, improve blood pressure, and strengthen the bones. The essay will begin by discussing the key findings on the consequences of not eating healthy especially among the elderly persons. Further, the essay will discuss on some of the healthy eating methods. All this will be supported by the relevant literature.
Aging is associated with changes in the lifestyle of an individual, which affects the type, and nature of the foods consumed. Worrying, depression, boredom, and loneliness about what the future holds can make some people neglect their diets. Unfortunately, such issues can make an individual skip meal and in general develop poor eating habits. It is imperative to address these issues and design strategies to improve diet intake, even if it means requesting family and friends to intervene. Most of the elderly persons do not eat healthy leading to health complications. Some of the research findings of the health complications are discussed below.
Fragile and weak bones are common among the elderly. These are caused by a decline in the mineral in the bone which causes osteoporosis a condition that normally affects the elderly population particularly women after they reach menopause. When an individual suffers from this condition, calcium is removed from the bones making the bones fragile increasing the risk of fracture and dislocation. The most common fractures involve the wrist, legs, and hips, which can turn out to be detrimental. Calcium is difficult to replace once it is lost from the bones. However, there are ways the elderly can use to prevent the progression of the osteoporosis. Some of the ways include diets rich in calcium, exercises, and sunshine. However, fluoride, calcium, and vitamin D are the key nutrients to keep the bones strong and healthy. The foods that are rich in calcium include milk and milk products like cheese and yogurt. In addition, fish with edible bones like sardines and salmon can form a good source of calcium for the bones (Nemecek and Jungbluth 2016).
Foods that do not include cheese and milk contain less calcium than the one recommended which is 800mg for men and 1000mg for women above 55 years (World Health Organization 2015). Further, fat-modified foods like a skimmer or skim milk are a suitable diet alternative for those who wish to take low fats. For the individual who does not take dairy products, a calcium supplement can be a good alternative but it is advisable to consult the doctor before making such decisions.
Vitamin D from the sunshine is equally essential for the body as it helps vitamins reach the bones. For the individuals with skin cancer or those that are advised by their doctor not to spend their time in the sun, they should take foods rich in vitamin D. Some of the foods that are rich in vitamin D include egg yolk, table margarine, butter, whole milk, liver, tuna, lamb’s fry, and cheese. Safe vitamin D supplement is also recommended but after proper consultation with the pharmacist.
Older people In Australia have Arthritis. For the individuals suffering from arthritis, eating a variety of healthy foods is recommended and it is important in maintaining a good body weight. Overweight or too much weight can exacerbate in weight- bearing joint bones. A research conducted by Nemecek and Jungbluth (2016) indicate that rheumatoid arthritis can easily be treated by fish oils. Therefore, it is imperative for the elderly persons to eat fish frequently in order to reduce chances of getting arthritis.
High Blood Pressure; Most Australians are suffering from high blood pressure. The risk or chances of acquiring high blood pressure increases as individuals age and those individuals suffering from this condition at a higher risk of sustaining a stroke or developing cardiovascular diseases. Some of the major contributing factor to the increased cases f high blood pressure is the issue of high salt intake, overweight, and lack of exercises. Most of the people who are already suffering from high blood pressure are advised to avoid salts in cooking and in the table and to avoid foods that are highly salted. In general, the Australian populations are being advised to eat foods that have less salt in order to reduce high blood pressure cases in the society (Saarinen, Fogelholm, Tahvonen and Kurppa 2017).
Chances of developing unhealthy gums and teeth increase with age. Having healthy gums and teeth is imperative for the general body health. The majority of the older people suffer teeth loss. It is important for people especially the elderly to visit dentists to have their teeth examined regularly to avoid gum diseases and teeth loss. Healthy gums and teeth are essential in making the foods we take enjoyable; hence, it is important for individuals to visit dentists in order to ensure the health of the gum and teeth (Smetana, Tamasy, Mathys and Heinz 2017).
Constipation is common among the elderly people. Constipation cases are common among older people. In order to prevent constipation, it is important to have foods that are rich in fiber. Some of the foods that are high in fiber include wholemeal bread, cereals, fruits, dried peas, dried fruits, lentils, and beans. Therefore, it is essential for the elderly to eat healthy in order to minimize the health complications associated with unhealthy eating; some of the healthy habits discussed below are helpful (Mahan and Raymond 2016).
Reduce the amount of salt Intake. Another name for salt is sodium chloride. A certain amount of sodium chloride is good for the body; however, the sodium we get from foods like eggs, meat, vegetables, and eggs is sufficient for the body. High salt intake increases the chances of developing high pressure and many other heart-related diseases that are common in Australia. A research conducted by Langley?Evans (2015) indicate that roughly half of Australians aged above 60 are suffering from high blood pressure, this are shocking statistics and something needs to be done to reduce this number, for instance, people should use spices and hears to flavor their foods instead of using salt. Just like any other Australian, old people should limit their salt intake and should avoid salted foods like bacon, corned beef, and potato chips. Therefore, it is very important to reduce the amount of salt intake and only take those manufactured foods that are low in salts.
Drink a lot of Water. Drinking a lot of water is vital for the body. Water is important as it keeps the body hydrated. Nonetheless, as an individual age, the urge of feeling thirsty disappears even after the body needs lots of fluids. In this case, it is essential for older people to take a lot of water for a proper body functioning. Moreover, it is okay to drink milk or fruit juice as an alternative to tea, soda, and coffee as it substantially counts towards daily fluid intake (Keoleian, and Willett 2013).
Reduce the Consumption of fatty foods. Pastries, pies, battered and fried foods, chocolates, and fried potato chips are high in fats, hence should be taken occasionally. In cases of a desert, foods like yogurts, fruits, ice cream, and custard are ideal as they have reduced fat and have low-fat varieties. Another ideal dessert is rice with dried fruits and a little bit milk with sugar is a healthy and delicious dessert (Hosking, Pasco, Hyde, Williams 2016).
Minimize Alcohol Intake. Alcohol provides the body with energy in form of calories or kilojoules but it does not provide the essential vitamins and nutrients that protect the body. The calories that alcohol provides only add to the daily energy intake. However, consuming a small amount with the main meal can make the meal enjoyable but it should not replace the actual food, which provides the body essential vitamins and nutrients (Garnett 2014).
Vitamins are essential for the body. Vitamins should be derived from the foods we eat. It is not advisable for us to take poor diets but replace it with vitamin supplements. In cases where you are not able to eat or recuperating, there are healthy ways that we can use to keep the diet nutritious and healthy, for instance, taking milk, eggs, vegetable soup, and fruit juice is nutritious foods that are easily digestible. However, in cases where an individual decides to use vitamins supplements, it is advisable for low dose multivitamin to be used, as the large dosages of vitamins can be harmful (Corrado, Ardente, Sala and Saouter 2017).
In conclusion, being healthy and living healthy is important for a quality life. In this case, taking healthy diets is essential in maintaining good health as an individual age. Further, healthy eating is important in all the stages of life. However, most Australians especially those from low-income households do not eat healthy which exposes them to some of the health style conditions like high blood pressure, arthritis just to mention a few. The older population that is at a high risk of developing lifestyle diseases, this is because of avoidable and unavoidable conditions. However, it is important for individuals in any stage of life whether children, adolescents, young adults, and the elderly to adopt healthy eating habits in order to improve their health status.
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Hosking, S.M., Pasco, J.A., Hyde, N.K., Williams., 2016. Recommendations for dietary calcium intake and bone health: the role of health literacy. Journal of nutrition & food sciences, 6(1), pp.1-3.
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