Although we often hear about the importance of drinking milk during childhood and adolescence, milk has several advantages for people in their 60s and beyond. Milk is a simple way to offer valuable nutrition to the elderly.
Is milk important for the elderly? What are the benefits of drinking milk?
Do older adults need to drink milk?
Absolutely. While drinking milk is important for people of all ages, some seniors regard milk as more than just a source of nutrition. When taking care of a senior loved one, know that drinking milk not only offers them rich nutrition. It also gives them peace of mind as they age.
Vitamins and minerals content of milk
Milk is high in calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Calcium is an essential nutrient for osteoporosis prevention. It can also help control blood pressure and reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Daily recommended intake for seniors
For seniors, whether men or women, aged 70 and over, the recommended intake is 1300 mg per day. Around 300mg of calcium can be found in one cup of milk, fortified soy, or rice drinks. However, according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, men over 70 years old should consume 3.5 servings of dairy food and drinks. Women aged 70 and over are recommended to have 4 servings daily.
Meanwhile, calcium can also be gained from eating fortified orange juice, sardines, canned salmon with bones, baked beans, calcium-processed tofu, seeds, green vegetables, nuts, and other foods with high levels of nutrition.
Top benefits of drinking milk in old age
Here are some health benefits the elderly could get from drinking milk:
Because this dairy has high calcium content, it provides nutrients that are important for bone health: preventing osteoporosis and lowering the risk of fractures. A senior adult at risk of osteoporosis and lacking energy should consider consuming vitamin D-fortified milk for proper calcium absorption.
Many seniors who avoid dairy products are deficient in potassium, which leads to high blood pressure. With high sodium intake, hypertension is common among the elderly and raises their risks of kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke. Increasing the potassium intake via milk may help reduce this risk.
Fine lines and wrinkles are common parts of aging. Proper diet and vitamins present in milk can keep skin firm and youthful. Riboflavin, vitamin B12, and vitamin A are present in milk.
Depending on the pasteurisation process, a glass of milk contains 5 to 9 grams of protein to keep the body energised longer. Protein molecules begin to repair muscles immediately after consumption.
Provides Vitamin D
Vitamin D is primarily obtained from the sun, but as people get older, the skin’s ability to produce this essential nutrient decreases. Vitamin D aids the body to absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones and reduces the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Reduced-fat milk contains 127 IU of vitamin D, which is one-fifth of the daily requirement of a senior.
While occasional acid reflux is typically not harmful, you may still experience heartburn after a greasy food or spicy food meal. A glass of cold milk may treat it quickly. Milk coats the esophagus instantly, neutralising acid and preventing soft tissue damage. Older people who experience it often should consult their doctors about long-term solutions.
What to Consider when Buying Milk for seniors
If you’re taking care of an elderly loved one, take note of these:
- Take a look and learn about the nutritional contents.
- Keep an eye out for added sugar.
- Search for products that contain additional vitamins and minerals, particularly for dairy substitutes, as fortification ensures that you get the nutrition usually found in milk.
- Since too much fat can cause health problems like obesity and heart disease, choose non-fat or low-fat (1%) milk since it also includes Vitamin D and other nutrients.
Milk products contain high levels of vitamins and minerals, which older adults need to retain bone strength, muscle strength and avoid osteoporosis. Home care still includes encouraging your loved one to drink milk regularly, eat healthy foods, and follow a proper diet.
Caregivers and family taking care of older adults and loved ones can learn more about home care and other important health updates through Aged Care Weekly. You may also subscribe to the latest news about aged care in Australia.
Should you include cow’s milk in your diet?
Fresh cow’s milk is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin B12, iodine, and other healthy nutritional contents like magnesium, whey, and casein, which may reduce blood pressure.
Which type of milk is best for the elderly?
Low-fat or non-fat milk is a good source of vitamin D and other nutrients. The elderly may drink fresh milk, but those who have lactose-related intolerance may choose lactose-free versions.
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