The importance of nutrition in preventing falls

Nutrition is an important factor in preventing falls. As we age, ensuring we are taking enough nutrition becomes difficult but remains important to our health and wellbeing.

22/05/2019

Nutrition is an important factor in preventing falls. As we age, ensuring we are taking enough nutrition becomes difficult but remains important to our health and wellbeing.

Nutrition is an important factor in preventing falls. As we age, ensuring we are taking enough nutrition becomes difficult but remains important to our health and wellbeing.

When our bodies become frail due to age or illness our muscle mass and strength are affected as is our neuromuscular impairment, mobilisation and risk of malnutrition.

There is also growing evidence that many older people are undernourished or malnourished, which reduces your ability to function independently, so taking time to revise and watch what we eat will benefit our health.

Conditions such as dementia can also be affected by nutrition, thus increasing the risk of falls. It is important to do what you can to ensure that the person you are caring for enjoys their food and eats a healthy, balanced diet, recognising their taste may change and the need to make the food look appetising.

Poor diet can be caused by loss of appetite, which could be a side effect of medication or a shortage of money. Other factors could be problems with eating certain foods or the risk of choking. Any of these reasons can be overcome or managed, so it’s best to seek support.

There are experts who can identify if you are at risk of malnutrition or provide advice on good foods for you to be eating. Any intolerances and allergies would to be taken into consideration. Help is available through your doctor, a nutritionist, dietician or your home and community support workers.

Below are vitamins that can help with different functions of our bodies. These should be taken in conjunction with a balanced diet and you should always seek medical advice first before taking any supplements or changing your diet.

Vitamin A supports healthy eyesight, immune function, skin, bones and teeth.

Vitamins B support a healthy metabolism, brain function, hormone production, regular heart operations, functioning of the central nervous system and cell duties.

Vitamin C supports absorption of the mineral iron, helps to provide immune protection and encourages healthy tissue development.

Vitamin D, along with the mineral calcium, boosts bone health as well as a solid body defence system.

Vitamin E facilitates your body's use of vitamin K, which helps in blood clotting and bone health, as well as promoting the formation of essential red blood cells.

A diet rich in a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit, fortified dairy, whole grains, dried beans and lentils, and lean meat and fish helps you get all the vitamins you need to support your health and balance.