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Focused diets

Conversation starter
Innovative idea!

I'm not an expert dietician by any stretch of the imagination but I do know how important certain foods and vitamins are for different things... What about creating a range of easy-to-follow diet plans aimed at the needs of elderly people? If we look at the common problems they face, is there a way we can ensure they are getting the best vitamins, minerals, etc from their nutrition and energy sources?

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Esther Hui 11 months ago

Status labels added: Conversation starter, Innovative idea!

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Miroslava Katsur 10 months ago

Hi Emily! I totally support your idea! My grandparents, for example, often struggle to decide what to eat so that it is easy, quick, healthy and affordable. Each of them have some health conditions and they would love to know which food is best to avoid or eat more. I think that books which have recipes that help people to reduce body weight, reduce fat/salt consumption, reverse diabetes, etc. could be helpful. I found some books e.g. low carb diets, heart healthy cookbook, eat-to-beat type 2 diabetes, and others. Emily, do you think it would help if these books would be recommended by NHS, or simialr books created by NHS? How big should they be? Should they be free?

Usually older people have more than one health problems, so I wonder whether the recipes could be more tailored to their needs. Perhaps, there could be a website (NHS website?) with a range of recipes, which can be filtered out by disease (e.g. diabetes), by cuisine (e.g. African), and by preferences (e.g. vegetarian). If the person cannot access the recipes or navigate website easily, perhaps their GP could print out those recipes. However, how would this booklet look like so that it easy to navigate?

Emily, you mentioned that it is important to get variety of vitamins and minerals, and this is absolutely true. I guess it can be difficult for anyone, even me, to keep track of how much of specific nutrient I consumed every day. I think that this should be done only there is a known deficiency, e.g. iron, iodine, or some vitamin. If the person is good with technology, they could enter details of what they consumed and how much, and get informed what their diet is deficient in. Perhaps, the app can contain the recipes and help to adjust the diet. Also, people can sometimes have days when they eat whatever they want, even if it is very unhealthy. I wonder whether they could scan that "unhealthy" food item and app could help them to decide what to eat the rest of the day to compensate for this...

Does someone have any comments or further suggestions?

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Adrian Girling 7 months ago

Once a week my wife goes shopping for an elderly friend, now in care home, buying fruit, lettuce and other healthy foods which her friend asks for. Two points I'd like to make: One is that many elderly people have a better understanding of what a healthy diet means, having lived on rationing during and after WW2. The other is that, in my experience, care homes in general can be indifferent about providing a healthy diet. Cosidering the cost of keeping someone in care, and the cost benefit of maintaining a healthy diet compared to the cost of treatment for sickness caused or at least exacerbated by poor diet, I'd like to see the National HEALTH Service focus more effort on this than the current emphasis on just fixing things when they go wrong. Look how long it took for us to recognise and do something about the link between obesity and excess sugar in soft drinks - largely a problem among young people.

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