The frail and elderly and those who care for them are being reminded of the importance of good food and drinking fluids in a special campaign supported by health leaders in the Black Country.
Nutrition and Hydration Week, which runs from 12-18 March, is an important annual campaign which focuses on promoting awareness and encouraging people to ensure good nutrition and hydration as part of their daily diet.
Older people are especially at risk of becoming dehydrated which could lead to other health issues such as constipation or infection.
Medical evidence also shows that good nutrition and hydration can assist in preventing conditions such as pressure ulcers, heart disease, diabetes, and low blood pressure. It is also recognised that it helps to keep you alert and feel generally healthier.
Dr Anand Rischie, Chair of NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
"Nutrition and Hydration week is the ideal opportunity to highlight the importance of drinking water and knowing which key foods have rich fluids. There are plenty of things people can do to maintain a good level of nutrition and hydration, for example, drinking water regularly throughout the day, eating more fresh fruit and vegetables and cutting down on the amount of sugar and salt they eat.
"It’s really important people maintain a good diet and stay hydrated, especially those who are being cared for in a hospital or care home.
"The consequences of poor nutrition and hydration are well documented and include increased risk of infection, delayed wound healing and decreased muscle strength."
If you’re looking at ways of improving your diet, here are a few things that could help:
- Base your meals on starchy food – starchy food should make up around one third of the food you eat. These include potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice and bread
- Eat plenty of fruit and veg – it’s recommended that we eat at least five portions of different types of fruit and veg a day
- Eat more fish – fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar – we all need fat in our diet, but it’s important to pay attention to the amount of fat that we’re eating
- Eat less salt – eating too much salt can raise blood pressure, which can lead to people developing heart disease or having a stroke
- Stay active – staying active is an important part of maintaining overall good health
- Be aware of dehydration – we need to drink about 1.6 - 2 litres of fluid every day.
You can find out more about the week and pledge your support at http://nutritionandhydrationweek.co.uk
The winter campaign to inform patients about the flu vaccine and the right NHS service to use for different conditions and illnesses is being run by the four clinical commissioning groups across the Black Country in association with the Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.
For more information on how to Stay Well visit https://www.nhs.uk/staywell