Demographic trends show that we are living in an ageing population. It is projected that by 2031 23% of the population will be over 65, and 3.8% over 85. This has increased from 13% and 0.7% retrospectively since 1971. The most dramatic demographic changes are in the oldest age group (80 years and over). With an ageing population it is important to look at changing and adapting policies and re-evaluating present health services and social support. This change is essential to ensure that the ageing members of our population are living comfortably rather then just abstaining from death.
‘Evidence from studies suggests that poor nutritional status in older people may increase susceptibility to disease and the severity of illness, in addition to being a corollary of the disease process itself’ (Prentice 2002)
The ageing process involves the progressive change in the efficiency to perform biological functions; genes account for 25% of this and the remainder can be associated with nutrition, activity, environment, chance and other lifestyle factors.
This essay will include current nutritional requirements for older adults, in comparison to a young adult, and will highlight particular areas of concern in nutrition that are age specific. It is also necessary to discuss the reasons why certain increments or decreases are required as well as covering age associated diseases and ailments, which can affect the nutritional status of this population.
‘A good diet can help reduce older people’s risk of a wide variety of health problems including constipation and other digestive disorders, anaemia, diabetes mellitus, muscle and bone disorders, overweight, and coronary heart disease and stroke. Nutrition also plays an important part in achieving a good recovery from illness and surgery.’ (The Caroline Walker Trust 2004)
There are limiting factors that can additionally prevent or inhibit optimum nutrition in the elderly. These include social, financial, physical and cultural differences that can alter food ‘choices’.
It is commonly agreed, that nutrition for elderly is similar to that of a young adult but key changes physically alter certain requirements:
‘Nutritional problems of the aged generally arise from reduced intake and impaired absorption and metabolism of nutrients, but that an increased requirement of the body for certain nutrients is also involved’(Frankie Phillips. 2003)
It is understood that due to the change in body composition where lean body mass is reduced as you age, with this comes a reduced basal metabolic rate, a reduction of 9-12% in comparison to that of an adult aged 18-30 years. Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is one of the major components of energy expenditure, therefore if this is reduced so is the requirement for energy.
This table shows EAR (Estimated average requirement) of energy for a male throughout his adult life:
The table shows that between 50 and 65 there is approximately a 200kcal energy requirement reduction, and from 50 to 75+ a further 280kcal reduction. However the micronutrients requirements remain the same, and in some cases an increase is needed for specific nutrients. Therefore, there is a necessity for a ‘nutrient dense’ diet.
I have moved to Scotland where Porridge has been consumed as a staple food since the middle Ages.
Sales of porridge oats continue to be higher in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, with Scott’s Porridge Oats taking the highest brand share.
The debate over the best recipe continues among porridge enthusiasts, techniques and variations in toppings are some of the many differences.
Do you half and half (water and milk)?
Maybe a dash of cream?
Savoury or sweet?
Whatever the choice the outcome will always be the same as the main constituent is the oat, and that means good lot of fiber, vitamins & minerals and a little protein too!
“Oats are grown throughout the temperate zones. They have a lower summer heat requirement and greater tolerance of rain than other cereals, such as wheat, rye or barley, so are particularly important in areas with cool, wet summers, such as Northwest Europe; they are even being grown successfully in Iceland.”
So Scotland weather is at least favourable to some things!
Oats have become rather trendy in recent times, and it is probably on of the only things David Cameron, Kate Moss and Tim Henman all have in common?
Yes Apparently, porridge oats share their company most mornings!
“Last January, Quaker Oats revealed that its sales had risen an astonishing 200 per cent since January 2009, and reported the largest orders in the company’s 110-year history.”
This rise in popularity shows trends in social opinion, from the view throughout history as a dish for the poor to my mum’s generation of British slang for serving a prison sentence
it is now being served in top hotels such as the Dorchester, and it will only set you back £7.50!
Of course the oats reputation for being plain has had to have a superfruit makeover, with the addition of blueberries and pumpkin seeds being a firm favourite.
The versatility of oats can be leant to its many forms:
Groats, or kernels, are made by having the oats hulled and their outer casing removed. They are particularly nutritious. However, they are hard to chew, so they are often soaked and cooked.
These whole-grain groats have been cut into just two or three pieces by steel, rather than being rolled. They resemble small rice pieces, and are also known as ‘pinhead oats’.
Jumbo rolled oats
These are the most popular – and the most familiar. The whole groats are steamed and rolled to make oat flakes. They have a slightly lower nutritional value than unsteamed oats, but cook in a few minutes.
Oatmeal consists of oat grouts that have been ground up. The finer they are ground, the smoother texture of the resulting porridge. For fluffier porridge, it is recommended to stir and whisk them.
Made from groats that have been cut into tiny pieces, oats are practical even for those where time is scarce, however be careful to check for added salt and sugar!
Oats have a natural resourcefulness, at any state of production they hold onto as much of their original nutrients as possible. They do this by retaining the bran and germ, which gives them the exclusive flavour.
Oats have many health benefits due to their key attributes:
High fiber content, both soluble and insoluble is often linked to improved health however oats have unique qualities with added health benefits…
The relationship with Tupperware began with envy. Yes my round sunshine Vitalite margarine tub did the job of keeping my folded peanut butter and jam sandwiches from coating my exercise books, but they didn’t have handy compartments nor was there space for my yoghurt which ended up coating the entire contents of my bag nonetheless!
Then the day came when I started making my own pack lunch, this stage of my Tupperware relationship is called clip and go. Along came no leaks pretty much guaranteed!
The simple seal function is now somewhat prehistoric with the influx of designer luncheon boxes, from sushi accommodating to those with compartments for anything that you may fancy!
This stage is ongoing and best expressed as romantic, the attire lures me in, what are the possibilities, what meals will I be able to enjoy wherever and whenever I please, and is it durable will it last.
Today Tupperware is just one player in the plastic-container game first introduced to the public in 1946 by Earl Silas Tupper. This only makes sense now, as up until last week I was in fact calling it “Tubberware” which before I knew who created it seemed logical!
I have signed up, I am sealed in and every time my food containers deliver!