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From loss of appetite to limited mobility, old age can bring physical challenges that make it difficult to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet. Here we look at essential nutrients that can help combat age-related illnesses, and guidance about including them in day-to-day meals.

A vital part of nutritional management for older people is including the right vitamins and minerals in their diet. These are found in a whole range of ingredients, from meat and fish to fruit, green vegetables and cereals.

Unfortunately, whether because of feeling less hungry or finding it difficult to cook meals from scratch, many older people living at home are missing out on these essential nutrients. But with our frozen, home delivered ready meals, this needn’t be the case. Packed with wholesome ingredients, they can make it easier for older people to enjoy nutritious meals. There’s also a large selection of mini meals, for those with smaller appetites.

Here’s a breakdown of vital nutrients, why they’re so important to ageing well – and where you can find them in the Oakhouse range:

ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants are natural chemicals that can reduce cell damage within our bodies. Cell damage can lead to a range of health problems, including heart disease, cancer and diabetes. Antioxidants can also help improve memory and concentration.

Good sources include: Whole grain bread, rice and pasta, oats, beans and lentils, blueberries, raspberries, garlic, tea (especially green tea), grapes and red wine.

Why not try: porridge or whole grain cereal with a handful of our frozen raspberries, Tuscan Bean Casserole.

VITAMINS

Vitamin A helps the immune system fight off infections, lets you see in dim light, and keeps the skin healthy.

Vitamin B. There are lots of different types of vitamin B, all of which help our bodies break down, release and store energy from the food we eat. This combats the build up of certain amino acids in the body that can cause heart disease and strokes. Vitamin B also keeps the nervous system working properly.

Vitamin B12 is involved in making red blood cells and is essential for a healthy nervous system. It can also help the brain function normally, and possibly lessen the chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Good sources of Vitamin A, B and B12 include: yellow and orange coloured fruit and vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach, salmon, cod, chicken and turkey, beef, liver, fresh and dried fruit, eggs milk and yoghurt.

Vitamin C protects cells and keeps the connective tissue that supports your organs strong and healthy. It also helps cuts and wounds to heal.

Good sources include: Citrus fruits, berries, orange vegetables such as carrots and butternut squash, dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and spinach.

Vitamin D works with calcium to keep your teeth and bones strong. Most people get all they need from sunlight, but getting out and about isn’t always easy for older people who may be less mobile. Other dietary sources include eggs and oily fish such as salmon and sardines.

Why not try: wholegrain toast with poached or soft-boiled eggs, Liver & Onions, Cod in Parsley, Roasted Vegetable Pie, Fruit Salad or Strawberry Tart. You could also stock up on frozen broccoli and carrots, to add to your evening meal.

OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS

Our bodies need this good form of fat to function properly. It helps break down deposits of ‘bad fats’ that can build up in the arteries, and it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

Good sources include: nuts, oily fish such as salmon and herrings.

Why not try: Smoked Kippers or Salmon in Watercress.