Special food invented for the elderly

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 16.10.2021

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22 July 2019, 09:00

Employees of the Lithuanian University of Technology in Kaunas have developed a special diet for the elderly with impaired swallowing function associated with a post-stroke condition, tumors, cicatricial changes in the esophagus, etc. A new type of food is designed to improve the well-being of elderly patients.

Old people suffering from dysphagia - a violation of the swallowing function - almost always have a lack of certain substances in the body. Most of the elderly are deficient in protein, B-group vitamins and ascorbic acid, as well as many minerals (such as selenium and zinc) and unsaturated fatty acids. A poor and deprived diet against the background of insufficient body weight leads to the fact that patients' health is slowly deteriorating, physical and mental capabilities are deteriorating, eyesight is suffering, taste perception is changing, and the risk of a fatal outcome is increasing. What to do if products rich in essential nutrients and at the same time easy for old people to eat are almost impossible to find? The new work of specialists from Lithuania has given hope to many elderly people.

They invented a new food for patients with swallowing disorders: this food is attractive in appearance and quite pleasant in taste. It is enriched with unsaturated fats, has a reduced carbohydrate-lactose content, it contains fat-soluble vitamins A and D, B-group vitamins, trace elements - zinc, calcium, selenium. Food has a pasty consistency, it is easy to swallow even for a person with impaired swallowing function. An extract from aronia gives the product a pleasant color, improves taste, saturates with anthocyanins - plant glycosides.

The production of this food is based on encapsulation technology: the active components are retained in the outgoing material, as a result, the digestive system makes it easier to extract the necessary substances from food and digest them.

Scientists have already conducted the first development trials in the clinical department of the Lithuanian University of Health. A group of patients who consumed 200 g of a new product in the mornings and evenings for 10 consecutive days, showed an increase in body weight, improved physical activity. In addition, in patients, the content of cyanocobalamin in the blood increased. No adverse events were noted.

The new product development project lasted about nine months. Food was compared with a similar Polish counterpart. It turned out that the Lithuanian product is more nutritious and much more effective in terms of improving the health of elderly patients.

Dysphagia in the elderly is a problem that is talked about a little and infrequently. And not at all because such a problem does not exist. It is impossible not to take into account that the impossibility of a normal meal often leads to the fact that older people become locked in themselves, protect themselves from communication, drive themselves into depression. To give a chance to such people is what scientists are trying to take care of.

Information published on the official website of the Lithuanian University of Technology (ktu.edu)

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