In celebrating National Nutrition Month, we have prepared a short FAQ on nutrition for older adults or seniors.
1. Is there a special diet for healthy seniors or older adults?
No. Healthy older adults are encouraged to include or eat a variety of foods based on Canada’s Food Guide with the emphasis on protein e.g. lentils, legumes, fish, animal protein etc.
2. How much protein does a senior or older adult need a day?
Older adults are encouraged to aim for at least 1.0 – 1.2 g of protein/kg of body weight a day. For an example, if my grandfather weighs 80 kg, he should aim for 80g – 96g of protein a day.
For references, 2 large eggs have about 14g of protein; 250 ml (1 cup) of hummus has about 20g of protein; 250 ml (1 cup) of shredded cheddar cheese has about 29g of protein.
3. What is the fluid requirement for an older adult?
The fluid recommendation for older adults is about 30ml/kg of body weight with a minimum of 1500ml/day. If my grandmother weighs 45kg, then she would need at least 1500ml a day. If my grandfather weighs 60kg, then he would need 1800ml a day.
Note: Fluid is not just water; it can be from soups, puddings, milk, yogurt, fruits etc.
4. What is the recommended fibre intake for older adults?
For men over 50 years of age, the suggestion is ~30g fibre/day. For women over 50 years of age, the suggestion is ~21g fibre/day.
For reference, 1 slice of whole grain bread has about 3 – 4g of fibre; 1 slice of whole wheat bread has about 2g of fibre; 1 cup of raspberry has about 8g of fibre.
5. Do seniors or older adults need vitamin and/or mineral supplementation?
In addition to eating foods that contain good amount of Vitamin D (e.g. canned salmon, eggs, cow’s milk), adults over 50 years of age need to take a daily Vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Vitamin A, B12, calcium, iron and zinc are some other vitamins and minerals that maybe of concern for the older adults. If a senior or older adult could not get these vitamins and/or minerals from food intake, he/she should discuss supplement use with a health care provider such as a Registered Dietitian (RD), family doctor, Nurse Practitioner.
6. Where can I get more information about nutrition?
You can get more nutrition information or advice by calling HealthLink BC @ 811 or visit www.healthlinkbc.ca
If you need to find a private practice RD for nutrition counselling, you can use the “Find a Dietitian” feature on the Dietitians of Canada website (www.dietitians.ca).
Healthy eating looks different for everyone. This #NutritionMonth, dietitians across Canada will help you #FindYourHealthy, guiding your nutrition goals in a way that is Good For You! Learn more at www.NutritionMonth2021.ca