Super foods for Seniors
Friday, September 11th, 2015 | Blog
Sometimes one can become set in their ways and when this involves dietary choices it can potentially be an unhealthy attitude.
Food is rarely considered medicinal but rather an opportunity to please the taste buds while satiating the body and mind. Changing such an outlook, especially when entering senior years, can be a challenge. Yet, if a new nutritional approach is successful, later quality of life could be considerably enhanced.
Senior super foods are specific choices that address various preventative, as well as curative possibilities enabling the process of aging to be less of a bumpy road. Through compassionate care and gentle re-education introducing more healthy foods into a senior’s diet could mean greater independence, dignity and longevity.
Power Up with More Protein
A balanced diet is essential, however as we age, more protein may be necessary.
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/01/21/best-diets-for-seniors“Frail elderly people face different issues. “One concern for older people is getting enough protein,” Campbell says. “We need more as we age.” A lack of protein puts people at risk for lower immune function and osteoporosis.”
Sometimes seniors will opt for the easiest choice such as a bowl of cereal or toast and coffee. Although carbohydrates are important, it is essential to add in various animal and non-animal based super food proteins. These include fish, chicken, tofu, beans, steel cut oats and eggs.
Some studies show that there is a prevalent deficiency in magnesium, especially among seniors.
“Elderly adults are especially at risk for magnesium deficiency due to relatively low dietary intakes, reduced intestinal absorption, and increased urinary losses of the mineral.”
Magnesium is essential for:
- Nerve function
- Blood sugar control
- Neurotransmitter release
- Blood pressure regulation
- Energy metabolism
- Production of the antioxidant glutathione
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include:
Hormone imbalance and PMS
- Heart Attack
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Tension or Migraine Headaches
- Anxiety and Depression
- Chronic Fatigue
Incorporate magnesium rich super foods into a senior diet which could be avocado, pumpkin seeds, spinach, black beans, figs, yogurt and dark chocolate.
There is something called ‘bone demineralization’ which is when the body leeches calcium from bone tissue to make up for low calcium blood levels. This can lead to a whole host of health challenges including osteoporosis, structural weakness, fractures and joint stress.
Foods high in calcium and vitamin D eaten several times per week may be enough to keep a senior’s skeleton in top shape. Some seniors can handle dairy sources such as milk, yogurt and cheese however using non-dairy choices may avoid digestive difficulty in those that are sensitive.
Look for broccoli, collard greens, kale, edamame, oranges, salmon, almonds, and tofu.
Don’t Fail on Folate
Folate is vitamin B9 which is responsible for many systemic processes. For seniors it could be particularly beneficial in preventing stroke, strengthening the heart, normalizing cholesterol levels, enhancing neurological support, maintaining colon health and reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration (a common eye disease amongst seniors).
Folate can also affect the brain.
According to Robert Stewart, MD, lead author of a study published in the Journal of Neurology
Neurosurgery and psychiatry(2/08), it was reported that, “Folate deficiency is clearly associated with a higher risk of dementia, but there also appears to be a significant association [between dementia and folate] across the non-deficient range,”
Bring more Brussel sprouts, avocado, beans, citrus fruits, spinach, asparagus and whole grain breads to the table for dishes high in this important nutrient.
Eating senior superfoods could allow older adults to gain more control over their health. By avoiding processed, packaged choices and replacing with choices like fresh, live fruits, vegetables and legumes a potential pain, disease-reduced world could be had.
Contributor: Felicity Dryer