As we get older our bodies start to slow down and our appetite will get smaller. However, elderly people still need a nutritionally balanced diet to stay healthy.
People who are ill
People who are ill, at home or in hospital, need balanced meals with plenty of nutrients they need to help them recover. Good nutritional food is part of the healing process. In the days of Florence Nightingale hospital wards were closed for two hours a day while patients ate their notorious meals. No doctor was allowed in the wards at mealtimes. Florence Nightingale saw food as medicine.
Other reasons for special diets
Many people require special diets for various reasons, such as:
- health (diabetes, obesity heart disease)
- religious or moral beliefs
Some people may be intolerant of or allergic to some types of food, Food allergies are a type of intolerance where the body's immune system sees harmless food as harmful and this causes an allergic reaction. Some food allergies can cause something called anaphylactic shock, which makes the throat and mouth swell, making it difficult to swallow or breathe nausea, vomiting and unconsciousness. Some allergic reactions can be fatal.
Food that sometimes cause an allergic reaction include:
- dairy products
- nuts (particuly peanuts, cashews nuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, walnuts).
A gluten free diet is essential for people who have coeliac disease, a condition where gluten causes the immune system to produce antibodies that attack the lining of the intestines.
Gluten is a mixture of proteins found in some cereals, practically wheat. A gluten free diet is not the same as a wheat free diet, and some gluten free foods are not wheat free.
Everything we eat is broken into sugars in our body, but different foods break down at different speeds. People with diabetes need to pay attention to what they eat and when, to control their sugar.
The ideal diabetic meal will be balanced, with a variety of foods, in an appropriate portion size. The details will vary depending on the person ,their level of physical activity and the type of diabetes that they have.
- Jewish-do not eat pork or pork products, shellfish or eels, meat and milk are not eaten together. Meat must be Kosher (Killed according to Jewish custom and rules).
- Muslim-Animals for meat must be slaughtered according to custom (halal). no shellfish or alcohol is consumed.
- Hindu-strict Hindus will not eat meat, fish or eggs. Those following a less strict regime will still not eat beef.
- Rastafarian-are often vegetarian, even if they are not vegetarian, they will not eat any processed food, eels, tea, coffee or alcohol.
Some people choose special diets based on their moral beliefs, for example, some people do not eat meat because they do not believe in killing animals. Some who do not eat meat will only buy meat from certain sources, which state that animals have been ethically reared, free to roam, and humanely killed.