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Dietary restrictions can also make a person feel singled out at mealtimes and gatherings, and this can be more bothersome as you or your loved ones get older.
Making dietary changes can be challenging for anyone at any age. And it can be challenging for older adults with set eating habits. If your loved one needs to make dietary changes to improve their health, there are specific things that you, their caregiver, can do to help with the change - or if you are over 50 and loves cooking for yourself and taking care of yourself, this article is for you too.
For caregivers: Older adults can have trouble understanding and accepting the need for change; therefore, it is best to introduce new ideas gradually rather than all at once.
Eating Changes To Make At Home For Your Dad Over 50
Here are some important tips to take into consideration:
1. Less saturated fats: As your father (or you turn 50), it is important to prevent cardiovascular disease, so focus on healthy fats derived from nuts, lean meats, fish, low-fat dairy, olive oil and plant-based sources like avocados .
2. Adjust calories: As the metabolism slows with ageing, it is important to adjust how many calories one is eating daily. Generally, the range is 1,400-2,400 calories a day, with men having the larger number of calories .
3. Less refined foods: Completely avoid or minimise refined, processed food and drinks such as cookies, chips, candies, cakes and pastries. These processed foods contribute to increased inflammation throughout the body, which in turn increases the risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
4. More fibre: A common disease found in people 50 and older is type 2 diabetes. Dietary fibre aids in slowing down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, which decreases and stabilises blood glucose levels. Plant foods are the best source of fibre .
5. Add natural colour: Add plenty of natural colour to your diet, that is, healthy vegetables and fruits and not processed foods or drinks. Two to three meals of seasonal fruits will work as antioxidants and prevent constipation.
6. Portion control: Have six to seven small meals in a day to aid digestion, absorption and prevent fatigue instead of three big meals.
7. Add curd: For a healthy dose of nutrition, you can add curd to the dough for rotis to improve the biological value of the cereal and to keep them soft .
8. Switch the salt: Studies show that the risk of developing high blood pressure increases after 50. Therefore, swapping the salt with garlic powder, onion powder, dill, paprika, pepper, citrus, and fresh herbs can be beneficial.
9. More water: Drink about 15 glasses of water a day to prevent dehydration .
10. No overcooking: Do not overcook the food to make it soft as by doing so, one destroys vital nutrients-instead, select foods which need less time to cook.
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11. Take supplements: Supplements and multivitamins, in general, are important to seniors. Consult your doctor regarding the same.
12. Try not to make a 'special' plate: Studies have shown that making a 'special plate for your loved ones can make them feel left out, and if everyone is enjoying the same meal, then it helps reduce the stigma and makes these changes seem less drastic. However, if they enjoy the ''special'' meals, then go ahead!
Foods To Add (More)
- Egg white 
- Mustard oil
- Vegetable soup
- Green leafy vegetables and broccoli
- Whole grains
- Fruits such as sweet lime, raspberry, banana 
- Cumin seeds (jeera) and fenugreek seeds (methi)
- Coconut water
- Turmeric 
Foods To Reduce/Avoid
- Sugary and salty foods
- Saturated fats such as butter, cheese, milk etc.
- Eat sugary fruits in moderation
- Reduce carbohydrate
- Limit alcohol 
- Cut down on fried foods
- Limit coffee
Tips To Improve Metabolism After 50 Years Of Age
- Eat more coloured organic veggies and fruits
- Avoid sugary beverages
- Exercise often - try taking breaks and go for short (10-15 mins) walks 3-4 times a day
- Practice portion control 
- Do not skip breakfast
- Drink the right amount of water - never less
- Eat less at night
- Eat when hungry
- Practice mindful eating
- Monitor your sodium intake
- Manage stress levels
- Take the right supplements
- Do regular health check-ups
- Prepare meals at home
- Get enough sleep
On A Final Note...
Working towards a healthier diet one day at a time can make the overall change seem less overwhelming and painful. As a caregiver, you can share meals with your ageing loved ones as often as possible - to keep an eye on their eating habits (most importantly) and, of course, to give them company.
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