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US Announces New Dietary Guidelines

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As anyone taking care of elderly patients knows, proper diet and nutrition are crucial to continued  health – both the health of the patient and the health of the caregiver! The US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture have recently issued their revised dietary guidelines, and there’s important information for seniors and those taking care of elderly individuals.

What are some of the guidelines that seniors may want to pay attention to?

Salt should still be watched. The new guidelines recommend eating less than 2300 milligrams (about one teaspoon) of salt per day. That recommendation doesn’t just take in to account the salt added to food at the table; it also includes the salt that comes in processed, packaged, or pre-made foods. Some people advise finding some other ingredient – such as allspice – to take the place of salt at the dinner table.

The cholesterol limit has been eliminated. The 300 milligram daily limit on cholesterol has been removed from the current guidelines. However, those taking care of elderly individuals should still check with a physician to determine if dietary cholesterol is an issue for their patients (or themselves).

Calorie limits. The daily recommended calorie intake for a woman aged 51 or older is 1600; for a man in that age group, the level is 2000.

Protein is important. The recommended daily intake of protein for women is 46 grams; for men, it is 56 grams. If that protein is obtained from meat sources, it should ideally come from seafood, lean meat, and poultry. It is also recommended that at least 8 ounces of seafood be consumed per week. The guidelines also mention that males may tend to consume too much protein, and this may need to be watched. (Again, each individual is different, so consulting a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist to determine adequate protein levels and sources is recommended.)

The guidelines can be obtained by clicking here.

Those taking care of elderly individuals may find these guidelines helpful in determining possible changes that can help to improve the health of their patients.

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