Optimal nutrition to maintain good health is vital. There are number of factors that can alter the daily nutritional intake, which may enhance risk of nutritional deficiencies and contribute to poor quality of life.

A simple guide to a healthy diet for the elderly includes a nutritious diet that replenishes all essential vitamins and minerals. This includes:
  • A balanced should include all food groups (milk and milk products, meat and legumes, grains, fruit, vegetables and fats)
  • Make sure you get enough protein, choose lean sources of protein like chicken, fish, legumes, beans and nuts
  • Aim for five portions of fruit and vegetables each day to give plenty of nutrients and vitamins
  • Have a diet to optimize the immune system which Vitamin A, C, D, E, B6, B12, Selenium and Zinc
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently (around 5 to 6 times per day)
  • Drink 6 to 8 large cups of fluids per day
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats and added sugars and avoid hydrogenated fats (which are found in fast food items)
  • Limit your intake of salt by preparing healthier meals at home with less salt
  • Enjoy eating food with your family, friends and loved ones
  • Preventing dehydration:
    • It is advisable to drink frequently, even when you are not thirsty 
    • Keep a bottle of water close to you (bed, chair or car)
    • Drink 1.5 to 2L per day* - remember that special care must be taken to increase fluid intake in hot climates to prevent dehydration
    • (* heart patients should check with their doctor concerning liquid intake)
  • Preventing constipation:
    • Stay hydrated 
    • Consume adequate fiber found in whole grain, vegetables and fruit together with adequate fluid
    • Eat some dried or stewed prunes or drink prune juice as it has a natural laxative effect (*diabetics should check with their doctor concerning the sugar intake)
  • Preventing weight loss:
    • Make the food more appealing by using fresh lemon juice and herbs
    • Include snacks between meals, such as healthy sandwiches, milk, fruit or fresh juice
    • Encourage regular physical activity. Daily exercise can stimulate appetite.
  • Preventing weight gain:
    • Eat regularly three meals and two snacks per day but reduce the portion size of your meals
    • Make half of your meal fruit and vegetables
    • Use whole grain rather than refined grains  
    • Limit your intake of fatty food such as fast food and fried food 
    • Limit sugar and sweets
    • Drink water instead of juices and soft drinks which contain a lot of sugar  
  • Preventing heartburn and bloating:
    • Eat smaller, more frequent meals over the course of the day instead of eating one or two larger meals
    • Avoid or reduce consumption of fatty foods and beverages that contain caffeine, chocolate, garlic, onions, peppermint, spearmint, and alcohol. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees increase acid secretion
    • Avoid reclining immediately after meals, or if you do so, keep your back elevated to at least 30 degrees so that you are not lying flat
    • Avoid smoking 
    • Regular exercise and daily routines improve digestion
  • Modifying food texture if problems with chewing or swallowing:
    • Cook food thoroughly until tender, or add sauces
    • Cut food into smaller pieces by chopping or grinding
    • Modify food texture by pureeing in a blender before eating

Dyspepsia is a common symptom in the elderly. It refers to various abdominal discomforts like nausea, bloating, feeling of fullness, stomachache, loss of appetite, heartburn, and acidic plash. If persistent, it can be a warning of an underlying disease and should be checked by your doctor.

Dietary guide for people with cognitive impairment:
Carers looking after people with cognitive impairment should monitor them for any nutritional deficiencies and unnecessary weight loss. 
  • Encourage carers to provide small frequent meals and to avoid forceful eating 
  • Identify person’s food preference and then add extra calories to make them nutrient dense
  • Encourage nutritious drinks such as soups, broths, milk, juices etc. more often
  • To provide dietary supplements as needed
For the recommended portions size for elderly as recommended byQatar Dietary Guidelines 

To find out more about the best nutritional advice for you, ask your doctor about a nutrition consultation with an expert