23 Effective home remedies for malnutrition in elderly


We know that malnutrition is resulting from a poor diet or a lack of food. It is happening when the intake of nutrients or energy is too high or too low or poorly balanced. The under-nutrition can lead to delayed growth or wasting while a diet which has too much food but it is not well balanced can lead to obesity. The malnutrition is involving a dietary deficiency. The poor diet can lead to a lack of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients.

The signs and symptoms of malnutrition in elderly include reduced sex drive and problems with fertility; depression; higher risk of complications after surgery; longer healing time for wounds; higher risk of getting sick and taking longer to heal; loss of fat, muscle mass and body tissue; always feeling cold; inability to concentrate; tiredness and ability; lack of appetite or interest in food or drink. In more severe cases, symptoms of malnutrition can include hair becomes dry and sparse, falling out easily; the cheeks appear hollow and the eyes sunken, as fat disappears from the face; skin may become thin, dry, inelastic, pale and cold; breathing becomes difficult.

There can be many different causes for malnutrition in elderly, such as depression and dementia; lack of interest in cooking; trouble chewing due to sore gums or poor dental health; living alone and eating for one; lack of mobility – unable to get to the store; changing taste buds; restricted diets, such as low sodium or low fat diets; limited income to buy nutritious food; trouble swallowing. If your loved older adult has malnutrition, then you should help him/her. Talk with a doctor so he or she can tell you which the best for taking care of your elderly with the help of these home remedies is.

Home remedies for malnutrition in elderly

Home remedies for malnutrition in elderly

Encourage regular physical activity: It is very important to help your older adults to make daily exercises, even if it is light. This can help to stimulate appetite and it can strengthen muscles and bones. [1]

Make meals social events: It is very important to invite your loved one to your home for meal or visit him/her. This will make him/her to feel happier. Also, you can encourage your loved one to join programs where she or he can eat with others and feel satisfied.

Water: You should drink a lot of water, at least eight glasses of water per day. This will boost hydration and it can help you to stay away from malnutrition. [2]

Sea food and meat: You should give your older adult meals which are rich in Vitamin B12, such as milk, clams, crab, eggs, beef, chicken, mussels, salmon and turkey. Also, he or she should include foods that have Vitamin D, such as cow’s milk, soy milk, canned salmon, sardines, egg yolk and mackerel. Also, foods which are rich in fatty acids can be included, such as salmon, crab, trout, oysters, canned tuna, herring or sardines.

Hydration: It is very important to boost your water intake with 9 glasses per day. It is the best fluid which you should add regularly to your diet. Also, you can drink other fluids, such as milk, coconut water, smoothies, juice, popsicles, iced tea, tea, coffee with milk. [2]

Folic acid: It is recommended taking 400 mcg of folic acid per day. Some foods which are rich in folic acid are lentils, breakfast cereal, asparagus and spinach. [3]

Balanced diet: You should consume a balanced diet with multi – vitamins because this can help to prevent the malnutrition. Also, this can help to rid of many disorders which can be linked with malnutrition, such as bleeding gums, poor nerve function, poor growth, tingling in the hands, dermatitis, diarrhea, anemia, tongue soreness, fatigue, weakness, edema, inflammation and dental problems. [4]

Vitamin B12: It is recommended taking 2.4 mcg of this vitamin on daily basis. Some foods which are rich in this vitamin are milk, eggs, beef, chicken, mussels, clams, crab, salmon and turkey.

Vitamins and minerals: Vitamins are playing an important role in performing crucial functions in the body. Minerals and vitamins are promoting good health and they give protection against infection and many diseases. Also, they can help in the growth of the body, metabolism and elimination of waste products. It is recommended to take vitamins and minerals from dietary sources but if it is not sufficient, then you should take supplements. They can help to prevent the malnutrition in elderly.

Vitamin C: It is recommended taking 75 – 90 mg of Vitamin C on daily basis as a treatment for malnutrition. Also, you can add foods rich in this vitamin in your diet, such as potatoes, broccoli, sweet red pepper, tomatoes, strawberries, grapefruit and oranges. [5]

Fats: It is known that fats are playing an important role in maintaining healthy skin and hair when they are consumed in the daily diet. Also, they can help in insulating our body organs against shock which can help to maintain body temperature and give healthy cell functioning. Also, fats are useful for storing the energy in the body. Fats are good source of essential fatty acids which are useful to prevent many diseases, including malnutrition. It is recommended that 30 – 35% of the daily calorie to come from fats. Some food products which include fats are seeds, nuts, whole milk, oil and butter.

Vitamin D: It is recommended taking 600 – 800 IU of Vitamin D on daily basis. Some foods which are rich in Vitamin D are soy milk, egg yolk, cereal, instant oatmeal, mackerel, sardines, canned salmon, cow’s milk and orange juice fortified with Vitamin D. [6]

Protein: We know that the protein is a vital nutrient which is present in each cell of the human body. Also, proteins can help the body to have special nitrogen which cannot be obtained from carbohydrates or lipids. Also, proteins are useful in regulating the pH or acid – base balance in the gut. They are needed for the synthesis of hormones and enzymes. Also, they are essential for the cell formation and immune system. [7]

It is known that during starvation, large amounts of muscle tissues get wasted and this leads to poor health. It is needed the protein in adequate amounts to metabolize and process energy in the liver and kidneys. It is recommended taking 10 – 35% of protein in your daily diet. Some foods which have proteins include popcorn, fish, canned meat, peanut butter, quinoa, wheat, grains, oatmeal, nuts, eggs and legumes.

Fruits and vegetables: Your older family member should add fresh fruits and vegetables in his or her diet so in this way he or she will get vitamins which are needed for preventing malnutrition.

Essential fatty acids: Some foods which are rich in essential fatty acids are crab, trout, salmon, sardines, herring, oysters, canned tuna and flaxseed oil.

Coconut water: You can drink coconut water because this is a good way to get natural electrolytes.

Restore life to bland food: You should make a restricted diet more appealing by using spices, herbs and lemon juice. If the loss of smell and taste is a problem, then you should experience with recipes and seasonings.

Supplements: A nutritional supplement can supply extra nutrients to your elderly family member which he or she may not be getting from the food. You should talk with his or her doctor about the best supplement.

Plant between – meal snacks: You should give your older adult a snack between his meals. It can be a fruit smoothie, a spoonful of peanut butter or a piece of fruit or cheese.

Soup: You can add soup in your regular diet because this is an excellent way to increase fluid and nutrients.

Tea: You can drink tea no matter what kind is because it will help you to stay hydrated and helps in prevention of malnutrition.

Milk: You can drink milk, such as cow’s milk, goat’s milk, soy milk or rice milk because they can help you to stay hydrated. Milk is rich in vitamins which can help you to stay away from malnutrition.

Carbohydrates: It is known that carbohydrates can help your body to get energy. Also, they can help in protein storage in the body. Our brain needs carbohydrates to get energy but insufficient carbohydrate intake a period of month can stop the metabolism of fatty acids. This is resulting in protein loss from the body and weakness which is causing malnutrition. It is recommended taking 50 – 100 grams of carbohydrates for preventing the development of ketones. Some foods which are high in carbohydrates are honey, pasta, white rice sugar, oats and wheat. [8]


[1] Langhammer B, Bergland A, Rydwik E. The importance of physical activity exercise among older people. Biomed Research International. 2018;2018:7856823.

[2] Popkin BM, D’Anci KE, Rosenberg IH. Water, hydration and health. Nutrition Reviews. 2010;68(8):439–58.

[3] Paddock C. Folic acid increases mental agility in the elderly. Medical News Today. Retrieved from www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/61211#1

[4] Anderson AL, Harris TB, Tylavsky FA, et al. Dietary patterns and survival of older adults. Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 2011;111(1):84–91.

[5] Harrison FE. A critical review of Vitamin C for the prevention of age-related cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. 2012;29(4):711–26.

[6] Meehan M, Penckofer S. The role of Vitamin D in the aging adult. Journal of Aging and Gerontology. 2014;2(2):60–71.

[7] Baum JI, Kim IY, Wolfe RR. Protein consumption and the elderly: What is the optimal level of intake? Nutrients. 2016;8(6):359.

[8] Gopinath B, Flood VM, Kifley A, et al. Association between carbohydrate nutrition and successful aging over 10 years. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A. 2016;71(10):1335-40.


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