In winter time, to keep warm body uses more energy. Thus we need to pay attention whether our elderly eat enough in order to generate sufficient energy.
First of all, elderly should consume more carbohydrates, unsaturated fat and protein as these are building blocks of body energy. Rice, pasta, bread, chicken, egg and milk are good sources here.
Secondly, elderly should also eat food that are rich in iron. This is because oxygen plays a critical role in transforming carbohydrates, fat and protein into energy. Oxygen is transported by blood in the body and iron is very important element in generating blood. Seaweeds, peanuts, black seasame, beef, bean products and almond are rich in iron and suitable to elderly.
Besides, metabolism of vitamins is faster in winter so elderly should increase intake of vitamins. Vitamin A and C can help adapting to cold weather and preventing cold. Vitamin B can maintain metabolism and particularly B12 can prevent cheilitis, angular cheilitis, glossitis (inflammation of lips and tongue) that are common in winter. Vitamin E can protect cells from oxidation. Food suitable to elderly and rich in vitamin A include eggs, milk, carrot, sweet potato. For Vitamin B, they are course grains, cereals, pork, bean products, milk. For Vitamin C, they are fruits, green vegetable and bell pepper. Plant oil and nuts are good source for vitamin E.
Other than food, elderly should drink more water to compensate loss of moisture due to dryness in winter. Drinking hot water does not only warm up the body, the vapor can also moisturize respiratory tract. Water is also a natural blood thinner to prevent clot and chance of heart attack and stroke.
Elderly should avoid drinking alcohol. Although one may feel warm while drinking, energy actually losses very quickly afterwards because alcohol can cause expansion of blood vessels.
Above information are for reference only. One should be careful in choosing and preparing food for elderly also based on individual elderly’s health conditions and their medical history. Please consult your doctor or dietitian in case of any doubt.