With an increase in age, there is a decrease in physical activity and a person consumes fewer calories. This can cause a deficiency of essential vitamins and minerals. Also, with aging comes various health issues causing selective eating and nutrient deficiency.
As we climb the age ladder the function of the body organs slows and it causes eating problems which cause nutrient deficiency.
Physiological changes causing an eating problem
Difficulty to chew
With aging, there is a loosening of teeth or a decrease in saliva secretion. As a result, the person avoids eating foods that are not easy to chew. A chewing problem denotes poor nutritional status.
A decrease in saliva production and decreased level of digestive juices makes it tough to carry out the process of digestion. Poor digestion indicates poor nutrient absorption.
All the above factors along with the side effects of medicines cause poor appetite in elderly people. Hence it is important to focus on a nutrient-rich diet.
Reduced taste bud and smell
Reduced taste buds develop no interest in foods. This causes nutrient deficiency.
The problem with swallowing (Dysphagia)
Swallowing problem is commonly found in older adults. Certain disease such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease are common in old age and affects the swallowing ability.
It is common in any age but majorly affects elderly people. Depression in elderly people is due to isolation, low income, chronic illness, etc. It can be a reason for weight loss and malnutrition.
With aging, the body becomes vulnerable to various diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. All these diseases affect the appetite and cause poor nutrient absorption.
Age and Diet related health problems
With aging, the body is not able to absorb the nutrients it requires. Some of the common vitamin deficiencies resulting from aging include – deficiency of vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin B6.
The deficiency of such vitamins results in the following health problems –