We talk a lot about good nutrition and yet many of our elderly are lacking in good nutrients. Its not many years ago that I watched my own mum, then in her early eighties, go through a phase of eating only snacks and the odd meal out of a tin. She looked so grey and fragile. We ‘fed her up’ over a few days and the change in her was literally incredible. Here’s a guest post from a US writer on how to ensure that elderly people eat well .
Taking the right diet goes hand in hand with leading a healthy lifestyle, especially for older individuals. For instance, some processed and fatty foods increase the risk of cancer—micronutrient deficiency results in degenerative diseases like osteoporosis. When choosing foods for seniors, please start with the basics by ensuring that they eat a balanced diet. It should constitute;
- Vegetables and fruits (six portions daily)
- Protein-rich foods like beans and fish
- Carbohydrates like brown rice
You could also prepare meals rich in these nutrients:
1. Foods rich in calcium
Calcium is responsible for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. It has also been found to lower blood pressure, yet the older we become, the less calcium we consume. The body requires calcium dearly, such that when you don’t take enough calcium, the body starts reabsorbing it from the bones. That is how your bones end up becoming fragile, or you get osteoporosis. Calcium is found mostly in milk products like cheese, yogurt, and milk. You can also get it from cereals fortified with calcium and green vegetables.
2. Foods rich in iron
Iron helps to make hemoglobin, which transports oxygen to other body parts from the lungs. When you don’t consume sufficient iron, there is a minimal supply of oxygen in the tissues, thus making you lethargic and tired. If you are running a daycare facility for seniors, you need good senior daycare software that can help with meal planning besides keeping records of the elderly health. The software will assist you in managing feeding schedules and catering to the needs of all seniors in the center.
3. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential nutrient, which means that the body requires them but is unable to make its own. The nutrients are vital for people of all ages, and especially seniors. They help to avert inflammation, arthritis, heart disease, and cancer. Omega-3 also slows down the loss of proper eyesight, keeps the brain alert, and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. You can get the acids from fish, especially tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Omega- 3 is also in walnuts, flaxseeds, canola oil, and soybeans.
Drinking eight glasses a day is an all-time secret that has numerous benefits. As you age, the need to take sufficient water becomes more critical than ever before. Seniors don’t retain enough water. That is why, as you grow, you feel thirstier. Dehydration causes confusion, which is why staying hydrated is paramount. If you are taking a lot of fibre, you should take more water because fibre absorbs a lot of water. Put water you intend to drink in a bottle so that you don’t get overwhelmed by the quantity you should consume. Your urine color will tell you whether you are hydrated or not. If the urine is bright yellow, you might be dehydrated.
5. Foods rich in potassium
Potassium aids in cell function lowers the risk of kidney stones and reduces blood pressure. It may also strengthen bones. You can find potassium from eating potatoes, bananas, and prunes. Although a lack of potassium is harmful, taking too much is also dangerous. Therefore, consider asking a doctor for the right prescription of supplements before you buy it.
6. Foods rich in fibre
Your digestive system becomes slower with age. The gastric walls thicken, and the contractions become few and slow. That might result in constipation. Fibre-rich foods ensure proper digestion because they fasten the movement of food through the digestive tract. The meals may also reduce the risk of heart problems. Fibre-rich foods include cereal, bread, vegetables, pasta, brown rice, and fruits.
7. Foods rich in vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 promotes proper nerve function as well as producing DNA and red blood cells. With age, absorbing vitamins takes more effort. The nutrient is found in meat and dairy products. You can also take supplements, but this should be under the guidance of a doctor.