National Nutrition Week 2023: Nutrition For All Ages


It is important to consider your age at every stage. No matter what age one is at, the body goes through several wonderful changes that have an impact on their life in different ways. As a result, appropriate nutritional requirements and balanced diet are crucial for every age group which one must be aware of for a better life and health. A balanced diet consisting of a variety of food, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, proteins, and dairy products promotes growth and development at every age.  

Maintaining a balanced diet is crucial for overall well-being, as neglecting proper nutrition can lead to illnesses, and this is particularly emphasized for various age groups.

Dr. Leena Martin, Chief Dietitian at Holy Family Hospital Bandra Mumbai said, “During infancy (birth to one year), babies undergo rapid growth, with breast milk sufficing for necessary nutrients, fluids, and energy up to six months. Solid foods are then introduced to offer a diverse range of nutrients, promoting healthy eating habits. Childhood nutrition should adapt to evolving growth patterns and physical activity levels. Protein, vitamins, and minerals requirements escalate with age.”

“Puberty initiates increased nutritional needs, particularly proteins, iron, and minerals. Nutrient-dense options like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, seafood, and lean meats are recommended. Calcium-rich dairy products foster bone health, especially for teenage girls,” she further went on to say.

“In the elderly phase (60 and above), nutrient-dense foods gain prominence due to weakening bodies. Dental problems or cooking challenges might arise. Prioritizing fish, lean meats, dairy, legumes, nuts, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and minimizing energy-dense, low-nutrition foods is essential. Fiber-rich choices support gut health, while excessive table salt is discouraged,” she added.

Nutrition Required By Different Age Groups:

Nutritionist Harleen Gill suggested the nutrition that is required for different age groups and tips to maintain the nutrients at every stage:

1. Nutrition for babies, infants and teenage children:

  • Mother’s milk is the gold standard for babies for six months as it provides an infant with the required amounts of nutrients, fluids and energy. In addition, it provides immunity to the child for protection against various diseases. If possible, it is preferable to breastmilk over infant formula since it contains immunological factors. 
  • Solid food should be introduced to the child after six months of birth to meet your baby’s growing nutritional and developmental requirements.
  • Breastfeeding should be continued as long as the mother and child wish.

Here are some tips to maintain nutrients at this stage:

  • The child should be given good enriched with iron and zinc. Cereals, tofu, legumes, soya, lentils, poultry, meats and rice-based cereals.
  • Various fruits and vegetables should be given to enhance the mineral and vitamin supply.
  • Protein intake is essential- whole grains, eggs, fruits and veggies should be given.
  • Cow milk should be given at twelve months of age and should be pasteurized.
  • Baby’s food should not contain salt, sugar or honey. It is not necessary.
  • Fruit juices and drinks with added sugar should be avoided.
  • Avoid whole nuts, seeds and similar hard foods in case of choking
  • One food at a time should be introduced.
  • Introduce new foods every three to four days to see the case of any possibility of food allergy and sensitivity. 

2. Nutrition for Children- Adolescence, Teenage and Adult Age:

The food intake of children varies with their growth patterns throughout childhood. As children approach adolescence, they should be earning stores of nutrients to prepare for this rapid growth spurt.

The following recommendations are brought in:

  • In addition to supplying energy food should provide nutrients not just empty calories.
  • Include nutrient-rich foods such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, vegetables, fish and lean meats
  • Be sure to include iron- and calcium-rich foods in your diet
  • The consumption of milk, yoghurt and cheese is important for calcium absorption.
  • Water is essential for your child.
  • Juices and soft drinks should be limited.
  • Encourage your child to be physically active.
  • Reduce your child’s television watching.
  • Maintain healthy eating habits throughout your life.  

3. Nutrition for pregnant, lactating and menopausal women:

During pregnancy and lactation, women should concentrate on their dietary intake as the key body requires a proper diet and nutrition. Therefore, nutrition intake should be increased rather than calorie intake.

Recommendations Include:

  • There should be no ‘crash diets’ as this can be harmful for both mother and baby.
  • The average second and third-trimester requires an additional 1400- 1900 kilo calories a day.
  • Focus on quality rather than quantity.
  • A pregnant mother requires more folate, iron, vitamin B12 and iodine.
  • An iron supplement is essential as it is required for oxygen transport.
  • Adequate fluid intake should be maintained and alcohol should be avoided.
  • Consume enough calories as breastfeeding burns extra calories 

Post-menopausal women are more likely to suffer from bone thinning due to hormonal changes

Recommendations include:

  • Take calcium supplements if you need to or eat calcium-rich foods such as milk
  • Many symptoms such as hot flushes can be reduced by following a high-fibre, low-fat, low-salt diet high in phytoestrogens.
  • You can get nutrients from soy products- soymilk, tofu, chickpeas, flax seeds, lentils, cracked wheat and barley
  • You should eat a variety of wholegrain nutrient-rich foods- wholegrain, legumes, soy-based products, fruits and veggies, and low-fat dairy products. 

4. Nutrition for Older People:

When you get older, you tend to eat less, which makes it harder to make sure your diet is varied enough to provide all the nutrition you need. 

Recommendation include:

  • To stimulate muscle mass and stimulate your appetite, keep yourself active as much as possible.
  • Regular exercise and a well-balanced diet will keep you healthy.
  • Eat foods that contain more nutrients than energy- eggs, lean meats, fish, liver, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruits and veg and wholegrain breads and cereals.
  • Vitamin D supplements should be incorporated as the ability to synthesize vitamin D from UV light decreases with age.
  • To promote bowel health, choose foods high in fibre.
  • Make sure you eat a variety of foods and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Antioxidant foods and vitamin B12 should be included.
  • Spend time with family and friends at mealtimes.

Rules About Nutrition That Apply To All Age Groups:

Anupama Menon suggested the common rules about nutrition that apply to all age groups, emphasising the importance of tailored approaches to meet specific requirements at different life stages.

  •  Embrace a Colourful Plate:

Regardless of age, incorporating a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables into your diet is vital. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibre, which collectively support immune function, digestion, and overall vitality. Aim to fill half your plate with these vibrant choices to ensure a well-rounded nutrient intake.

Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, oats, and whole-grain bread, provide essential carbohydrates, fibre, and various nutrients. These grains release energy gradually, promoting stable blood sugar levels and sustained energy throughout the day.

Protein is the building block of our body’s tissues, and it’s crucial for all age groups. Opt for lean protein sources like poultry, fish, legumes, tofu, and low-fat dairy products. These options provide essential amino acids while minimising saturated fats and cholesterol intake.

Incorporate healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. These fats support brain health, hormone regulation, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).

Staying well-hydrated is essential for everyone. Water supports digestion, circulation, temperature regulation, and overall bodily functions. Aim to drink adequate water throughout the day, and adjust intake based on activity level and climate.

Regardless of age, portion control is crucial. Be mindful of serving sizes to prevent overeating, which can lead to weight gain and associated health issues.

  • Limit Added Sugars and Salt:

Excessive consumption of added sugars and high levels of sodium can contribute to various health problems. Opt for natural sources of sweetness, such as fruits, and use herbs and spices to flavour food instead of excessive salt.

  • Calcium and Vitamin D for Bone Health:

Throughout life, bone health is essential. Adequate calcium and vitamin D intake supports bone density and reduces the risk of fractures. Include dairy products, fortified foods, leafy greens, and exposure to sunlight for optimal bone health.

Nutrition-rich food and proper supplements can keep you healthy at every age. No matter what your age is, nutrition is important to function and grow. You get energy from it. Therefore, proper awareness is needed to prevent various diseases- high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many others. 

Check out below Health Tools-
Calculate Your Body Mass Index ( BMI )

Calculate The Age Through Age Calculator


Source link

Leave a Reply