Dietitian Ngaire Hobbins says dieting or unintentional weight loss should be avoided in our later years.
Dietitian Ngaire Hobbins says dieting or unintentional weight loss should be avoided in our later years. shapecharge

We're busting nutrition myths

DIETITIAN and author Ngaire Hobbins shares some surprising facts in the lead up to National Nutrition Week, October 15-21.

1) Your stomach shrinks as you age

"Although your appetite may change, your stomach doesn't shrink when you get older.”

2) Weight loss is healthy

"Unfortunately this is not the case when we are older. Instead, dieting or unintentional weight loss should be avoided in our later years. A bit of extra padding in later age is beneficial to support your body and brain in the years ahead.”

3) You need to eat less as you get older

"While your metabolism slows and your energy output decreases, food and eating is what protects and fuels you and is your key to ageing well.”

4) You only need to eat what you feel like

"The ageing process can play tricks on our appetite and, as a result, older people might eat less than their bodies really need. An outright loss of appetite is not normal, and could be symptomatic of an underlying health problem. Try to eat small meals regularly throughout the day, even if you don't always feel like it.”

5) You should follow a low-fat diet

"Fat is an important source of calories and some seniors might need to eat a bit extra to maintain weight. Fats found in foods such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado, and oily fish are ideal.”

6) You don't need much protein

"While nutrient-rich vegetables continue to be essential in your diet, protein keeps our muscles, our immune system, our body organs and brains working and renewing minute by minute.”

7) Only drink water when you're thirsty

"If you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and that's a problem as neither your body nor brain can work at peak capacity. Dehydration can bring on confusion and delirium, hampers kidney function and worsens a multitude of other conditions.”

You can find some additional nutritious food ideas and healthy eating tips on Nutrition Australia's website

Source: Home Instead Senior Care,

Assortment of fresh vegetables and fruit
Fresh, brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables are good for the brain. Afisphoto

Keep your brain ticking

YOU might have seen a TV report on Sunday about how more evidence is emerging that a healthy diet that includes antioxidants, unsaturated fats and certain vitamins may help reduce your risk of dementia.

It's never too early, or too late, to load up on these ingredients that will help your brain keep ticking over.

What you want is polyphenols and flavonoids - found in fresh, brightly-coloured fruits and vegetables, plenty of B vitamins including folate that you'll get in dark leafy greens, seeds and nuts, legumes and lean proteins, and plenty of good fats in olive oil, avocado and fish.

What you want to reduce is saturated fat, in processed and fast foods and meat, and foods that quickly turn to sugar - simple carbohydrates such as white flour, white rice, cakes and biscuits and, of course, sweets.

Higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet has been found to be associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia.

For more tips go to

Other ways to lower dementia risk include staying physically active, having a social network, keeping on learning and looking after your heart.

Healthy woman following a workout video at home and doing Pilates exercises with a ball
Set up some equipment in front of the TV and, in the ad breaks, work on getting fitter. andresr

Lazy exercise

OBESITY is a major problem for many Australians and getting off the couch can help. But what if you don't want to leave the couch? Or at least your favourite show?

Well, there's an easy solution to having your cake and eating it, too. Set up some equipment in front of the TV and, in the ad breaks, work on getting fitter.

An exercise bike is ideal. Start with a five-minute warm-up at easy resistance. Adjust the knob until turning the pedals takes moderate effort. Then do one minute of fast, intense pedalling, then one minute of easy and repeat.

You could also have a roll-out mat and do some basic strength exercises or stretches. Some mini-weights kept close by can be used to build healthy muscle and bone, or try a resistance band to do some simple exercises. Or try tricep dips to tone the muscles on the backside of your upper arms, using the sofa.

Or how about plugging in a vibration platform that will do some of the work for you - just stand on it while you watch TV and it will help you work muscles and build bone. Check out

Natural germ killer

IF YOU'RE looking for a local, natural product that's handy to have around the house, Solvid Disinfectant combines the strength of a commercial grade disinfectant with the friendly nature of a natural non-toxic product.

Solvid is proven to kill 99.995% of all bacteria. It leaves no chemical residue and contains no nasties such as chlorine, alcohol or synthetic chemicals.

It poses no risk to people, children and babies, wildlife or pets. It also leaves no strong odour like other disinfectants or natural disinfectants such as vinegar or citrus.

Go to

Arthritis helper

ON THE eve of World Arthritis Day - October 12 - a new study shows 36% of arthritis sufferers are turning to natural alternatives such as krill oil to maintain good joint health and reduce inflammation. For more information visit


"It doesn't matter how slow you go, as long as you don't stop.” - Confucius

Helen Hawkes is a lifestyle editor and leading wellness writer. She is also a partner in Life Makeovers, a coaching and counselling business and is currently completing a Food and Nutrition diploma.