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Friends of the Elderly has partnered with the British Dietetic Association (BDA) to highlight the importance of good nutrition and hydration in older age.

1. Eat Enough

Malnutrition increases the risk of disease, delays recovery from illness, and adversely affects body function, wellbeing and clinical outcome. Try to eat three small meals and three small snacks each day, which include protein (fish, meat, tofu, soya, eggs etc), carbohydrate (starchy food potato, bread, rice), plenty fruit and vegetables fresh, frozen or canned.

2. Keep hydrated 

Older people can be more vulnerable to dehydration. Avoid this by aiming for around six to eight glasses of fluid per day (a minimum of 1.5 litres). This includes milky drinks, hot drinks, pure fruit juice, cordials, water, and also tea and coffee up to the recommended daily amount.

3. Take vitamin D

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth. The Department of Health recommends everyone over the age of four takes a 10ug (0.01mg) vitamin D supplement, especially ‘at risk’ groups which include those over 65 years of age. Foods that provide vitamin D include: oily fish, cod liver oil, egg yolk, meat, offal and milk; margarine, some breakfast cereals, infant formula milk and some yogurts are ‘fortified’ with vitamin D.

4. Make sure you're getting enough calcium

We lose bone mass as we age, so it is important to consume plenty of calcium. Good sources of calcium include: dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt and fortified milk alternatives such as soya/rice milk, leafy greens, fish such as mackerel and sardines, legumes like peas and beans.

5. Dose up on B vitamins (folic acid, B6, B12)

B vitamins have a range of important functions in the body, including contributing to healthy red blood cells, bodily functions, nerve function, healthy skin, vision and reducing tiredness. Good sources of B vitamins include: green vegetables, fortified cereals, peanuts, pork, poultry, fish, milk, and other fortified foods, such as fortified milk alternatives (soya, rice milk)


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