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NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF OLDER PEOPLE DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

NUTRITIONAL NEEDS OF OLDER PEOPLE DURING COVID-19 OUTBREAK

Having good nutrition is very vital during, before, and after an infection. Infections can take place on the body particularly when it causes fever. This is where the body needs additional nutrients and energy. Therefore, sustaining a healthy diet is very significant during the COVID-19 outbreak. While no dietary supplements or foods can prevent COVID-19, maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of supporting a strong immune system. 

Healthy aging could be defined as leading an active, healthy, social, and independent life in the late years through keeping vitality and good quality of life for as long as possible. Nutrition is a zone that can be addressed to benefit older people and enhance healthy aging in a population. With aging, there is also an increased likelihood of developing a disease such as:

  • Disability
  • Chronic diseases
  • Cognitive decline
  • Decreased functional ability

Aspects related to aging that leads to insufficient nutrient intake are:

  • Decreased food intake
  • Impaired appetite
  • Repetitive dietary choices

These will have consequences on:

  • Mortality risk
  • Weight
  • Quality of life
  • Nutritional status

The elderly are more vulnerable to:

  • A loss of muscle mass
  • A decrease in body weight

Reduced appetite in the elderly could lead to decreased food intake. This could result in problems achieving recommended intakes such as protein and vitamin D. This leads to reduced body weight and muscle mass 

Good protein intake is necessary for older people to support:

  • Recovery from illness
  • Skin integrity
  • Immunity
  • Healing 

Protein is a critical part of the procedures that fuel your energy and carry oxygen in your blood all over your body. It also helps make antibodies that fight off illnesses and infections. Protein also helps keep cells healthy and create new ones. Not getting enough protein in your diet might lead to health issues especially if you are aging. Some tissues might break down and lead to muscle loss. Most everyone must get 10%-35% of calories each day in the form of protein. After the age of 40, you start to lose muscle mass and you may need to have more protein. 

Vitamin D is recommended for older people to:

Vitamin D has several roles in the body. It helps in:

  • Regulating insulin levels and supporting diabetes management
  • Promoting healthy teeth and bones
  • Supporting brain, immune, and nervous system health
  • Influencing the expression of genes involved in cancer development
  • Supporting lung function and cardiovascular health

Vitamin D is essential for some reasons. This nutrient protects you against different conditions and diseases. Your body makes vitamin D naturally when it’s directly exposed to sunlight. You can also get it in certain foods and supplements to make sure you enough levels of the vitamin in your blood. However, just like any other supplement, you can also have some symptoms of you had too much vitamin D. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • A metallic taste
  • Dry mouth
  • Loss of appetite

It is the eating pattern and total diet that is most important in good health and preventing certain diseases. It is well to eat a diet with a range of nutrients than to concentrate on one nutrient as the key to good health.