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People over 65 told not to drink 'strong tea' with meals as part of new dietary advice

New guidance has been issued by the FSAI.

Image: Shutterstock/TongPhotoMV

PEOPLE AGED 65 and older have been urged not to drink strong tea with meals because doing so can interfere with the absorption of some essential minerals.

The recommendation is contained in new dietary advice issued by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) to help enhance the nutritional well-being of older adults.

It was formulated by the FSAI’s Scientific Committee at the request of the Department of Health, with the over 65s currently the fastest-growing age group in Ireland.

According to the authority’s report, older adults who drink strong tea should only do so between meals, as drinking strong tea with meals interferes with the absorption of iron and zinc.

The report also warns that the consumption of salty foods should be avoided and alternatives such as herbs and spices should be used to increase flavour, because sense of taste diminishes with age and this can lead to increased salt consumption.

Healthy older adults are recommended to eat a more protein-dense diet – comprising foods such as meat poultry, fish, dairy and eggs – and are urged to eat an adequate number of calories every day to prevent frailty, muscle loss and under-nutrition.

There are also recommendations about vitamin and mineral intakes, as well as the amount of liquids older adults at risk of dehydration should drink every day to be healthy.

FSAI Chief Executive Dr Pamela Byrne explained that the development of the guidelines was underpinned by scientific research.

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“This report sets out a number of science-based recommendations that will underpin national guidelines being prepared by the Department of Health, to support optimal nutritional status and health of older adults in Ireland,” she said.

“Due to considerable variations in the ageing process, food-based dietary guidelines are best tailored to functional capacity rather than chronological age.”

More information is based on the FSAI’s website here.

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