It’s Nutrition & Hydration Week from the 14th to 20th March and ahead of this the Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust would like to shine the spotlight on common myths and facts around eating and drinking in later life…

Getting thinner is a normal part of ageing – MYTH

Keeping a healthy, stable weight is important throughout our lives, particularly in later life. Getting thinner is not a normal part of ageing but it is easy for weight to drop off without noticing. Unintentional weight loss increases the risk of ill health and makes it difficult to recover from infections, injury or surgery. 

Six small meals are as good as three main meals – FACT

It’s important to take enough calories and protein when you have lost your appetite or if you are unwell and eating smaller more regular meals and nourishing snacks may feel more manageable during these times. 

Why not try out some of these nourishing snacks? Rice pudding (bought or home-made), cheese and crackers, crumpets with butter and cream cheese/honey, porridge oats made with full fat milk, cheese and beans, scrambled eggs or peanut butter on toast, fruit scones with butter, bagel with soft cheese and ham and poppadum with raita and chutney.

Drinking 6-8 glasses of fluid a day is recommended – FACT

We need about 6 – 8 (about 1.5 litres) glasses of fluid throughout the day to stay hydrated. This can include tea, coffee, jellies, water and milk. “Think drink!” throughout the day.

Tips to help you stay hydrated:

  • Make snacks hydrating AND nourishing e.g. hot chocolate made with full cream milk, jelly with custard; and coffee with cream.
  • Keep drinks close at all times.
  • Hydrate with water-based foods e.g. melon and cucumber
  • Drink a full glass of water when taking medication.

Cutting back on drinks will reduce the urge to pass urine – MYTH

The bladder is a hollow muscular organ. These muscles relax to allow the bladder to fill with urine and contract to allow you to pass urine. Drinking too little may increase the need to go to the toilet because strong, concentrated urine collects in the bladder which can irritate these muscles and cause your bladder to contract too often (bladder overactivity). In other words, not drinking enough fluids may lead you to pass urine more often!

For more information about weight loss in later life, please have a look at the resources below: