Welcome to M.V Hospital for Diabetes, established by late Prof. M.Viswanathan, Doyen of Diabetology in India in 1954 as a general hospital. In 1971 it became a hospital exclusively for Diabetes care. It has, at present,100 beds for the treatment of diabetes and its complications.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Sheela Paul, Rubini S.
Dept. Of Nutrition & Dietetics

"Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter." - Mark Twain

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul." - Samuel Ullman

For seniors, the benefits of healthy eating include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, higher energy levels, faster recuperation times, and better management of chronic health problems. As we age, eating well can also be the key to a positive outlook and emotional balance.

How does the body change with ageing?

Ageing changes the body in many ways. In addition to decreasing mobility and heart function, sensory changes that affect meal intake can occur. Changes in the digestive tract affect digestion and absorption of food. Some older adults are at risk for malnutrition and unintended weight loss due to physiological changes associated with aging

Being aware that changes occur in the geriatric population is critically important. Geriatric patients are especially different due to the unique changes that occur in this population.

Advantages of good nutrition for seniors:

Live longer and stronger – Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong for the long haul. Eating vitamin-rich food boosts immunity and fights illness-causing toxins. A proper diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, cancer, and anaemia. Also, eating sensibly means consuming fewer calories and more nutrient-dense foods, keeping weight in check. Remember that balanced nutrition is more than calorie counting. There are many other aspects to creating a nutritious lifestyle. Also, eating sensibly means consuming fewer calories and more nutrient-dense foods, keeping weight in check. Remember that balanced nutrition is more than calorie counting. There are many other aspects to creating a nutritious lifestyle.

Feel better –Wholesome meals give you more energy and help you look better, resulting in a self-esteem boost. It’s all connected—when your body feels good you feel happier inside and out.

Sharpen the mind – All the nutrients are essential for the brain to do its job. People who eat a selection of bright coloured fruit, leafy vegetables, fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Diets rich in antioxidants prevent disease and premature ageing. Antioxidants also stimulate the immune system and protect the nervous system and brain from the oxidative damage associated with age-related memory loss.

Fruits and vegetables are also gold mines of longevity-enhancing compounds called antioxidants; these include vitamins C and E and beta carotene. Antioxidants combat free radicals, oxygen fragments that attack and damage cell membranes, life-sustaining proteins and even our cells' genetic code, and in so doing bring about ageing and disease. Fresh fruits and vegetables are nutrient-packed, providing ample amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, beta carotene and folic acid, and they are low in calories (a heaped bowlful of greens supplies only 30 calories)

Areas of health problems for seniors:

The elderly often present with increased number of medical problems and often have atypical presentations. For example, an initial diagnosis of dementia may actually be due to thyroid disease or minor illnesses leading to mental confusion. Unfortunately, recuperation for any illness is usually slow. Finally, "bad" ageing is that in which disease occurs.

Sensory changes

Loss of smell and taste affect the nutritional intake and status of many seniors. If food does not smell or taste appetizing, it will not be eaten. Try a variety of new food flavours. Don't cook vegetables until they are mushy. Instead, reawaken the senses to fresh, flavourful foods and new textures


99% of the elderly population require corrective lenses. Age related macular degeneration is the number one cause of new onset blindness in adults.

Loss of teeth

Improperly fitting dentures may unconsciously change eating patterns because of difficulty in chewing. As a result they may take soft, low-fibre diet without important grains, fresh fruits and vegetables so chop, steam, stew, grind or grate hard or tough foods to make them easier to chew without sacrificing their nutritional value.


It is a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fracture. In osteoporosis the bone mineral density (BMD) is reduced, low circulating Vitamin D is common among the elderly worldwide. Mild vitamin D insufficiency is associated with increased Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) production. PTH increases bone resorption, leading to bone loss. Physical activity helps maintain bone mass, and can increase it by 1 or 2%. Conversely, physical inactivity can lead to significant bone loss.

Exercise and a diet high in calcium help protect against osteoporosis.

Follow these guidelines:

* Walk and exercise at least three times a week and have fun!

* Include two to four daily servings of dairy products such as milk, yogurt or cheese.

* If digesting milk is a problem, cultured dairy products, like buttermilk and yogurt, often are tolerated well.
* Post-menopausal women may need a calcium supplement if they can't get enough through diet alone.

Coronary diseases occur more frequently in people aged 45 to 70 as do cerebro-vascular accidents. The rate of malignancies and mortality linked to cancers also increases with age. Currently, onset of diabetes is also increasing.

Cardiovascular disease:

* Cardiac output and maximum heart rate also decrease with age. 40% over the age of 75 die of cardiac disease, 15% die of cerebrovascular disease and 5% die of other vascular problems such as aneurysms.

Tips for a healthy heart:

* Have a high fibre diet. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
* Use low saturated fat with a combination of oils for cooking
* Avoid oily deep fried foods.
* Restrict salt and salty foods items.

Older adults can feel better immediately and stay healthy by choosing healthy foods. A balanced diet and physical activity contribute to a higher quality of life and enhanced independence as you age.

Remember the old adage you are what you eat? Make it your motto. When you choose a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins you’ll feel simply marvellous inside and out.

Eating well as a senior is a lifestyle that embraces fresh, colourful food, creativity in the kitchen, and eating with friends. You are the boss when it comes to food choices and by making healthy choices you can supercharge your life and experience the joy of eating well and ageing well.

1 comment:

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