Nutrient deficiencies appear to increase with age. Some colleagues at the University of Iowa looked at over 400 Iowans 79 and older living independently in rural areas and found that 80 percent reported consuming inadequate amounts of four or more nutrients.
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When declining energy requirements are not matched by decreased caloric intake then total body fat increases. The Atkins diet leaves your body shy on some important nutrients, such as vitamin B, and also is negative for vitamins A, C and D, anti-oxidants that slow the effects of aging and calcium. Once again the lack of exercise has to enter into the equation also.
Nutritional status may be further compromised by other problems in conjunction with the illness, such as trauma, surgery, infection drug therapy which alter nutrient requirements. This makes recovery even more difficult. Each one of the above nutrients is needed to keep an aged body in good health. Elderly individuals should try to strive for a well-balanced diet and stay active. Adequate dietary fiber, as opposed to increased use of laxatives, will maintain regular bowel function and not interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients, as occurs with laxative use or abuse.
Some of the factors described above, like changes in the digestive system, as well as health concerns like the increased risk of fragile bones, means that nutritional needs change as you age. Periodic review of your diet is always helpful, particularly if you have specific medical conditions.