We here at Alliance Home Health Care are lucky to share this with you today! It’s a super cool infographic by a wonderfully talented health blogger, Felicity Dryer. Be sure to check out the infographic and enjoy it, but stick around for the great, helpful, and very informative article for seniors and senior nutrition she wrote right below it.
By Felicity Dryer
Maintaining a healthy diet during the senior chapter of life could pose its challenges. Hunger may not be as prevalent as it once was, physical pains could be difficult to manage, memory issues may confuse and fatigue might diminish the gumption to simply prepare a meal.
This is where friends and family can help their senior loved one re-establish a connection with food choices. By introducing senior superfoods, a new world of mind and body enhancing dietary choices could arise. When more seniors become educated as well as assisted in the specifics of how various food compounds may directly affect their health, more seniors may inevitably embrace a higher quality of life.
The Mediterranean Diet
Many senior superfoods are found in The Mediterranean Diet. This diet has been shown to cover many preventative bases of potential targets for various conditions and even diseases.
In a study by researchers of the Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, The Netherlands titled, ‘Mediterranean diet, lifestyle factors, and 10-year mortality in elderly European men and women: the HALE project’ (published in the Journal of the American Medical Association – JAMA 9/2/04) it was concluded that,
“Among individuals aged 70 to 90 years, adherence to a Mediterranean diet and healthful lifestyle is associated with a more than 50% lower rate of all-causes and cause-specific mortality.”
Some superfoods and their benefits in The Mediterranean Diet include:
Fish – Seafood, particularly salmon, sardines and mackerel, prepared without frying hold scores of Omega-3 fatty acid compounds. These have been shown to enhance heart strength as well as decrease joint pain.
Unsaturated Fatty Acids – Olive oil, canola oil, avocados, and safflower oil are some of the many unsaturated fatty acids available. When used in place of animal based or processed oils these could play an important role in transporting essential vitamins such as A, D, E and K. They have also been linked to lowering cholesterol levels.
Legumes – Beans are considered protein rich superfoods. Higher protein levels can be an essential component for seniors as nutritional absorption may be a challenge in later years. Combined with brown rice, red, black, white, soy beans and chick peas offer 15-30 grams of protein per cup. They are also high in fiber which s slowly digested making one feel full longer.
Dark, Green and Leafy – One of the top senior superfoods capable of acting like an ingested pharmacy is dark green leafy vegetables. When kale, spinach, collard greens and broccoli (which are just a few popular choices) are prepared with minimal heat, they offer great health benefits.
One of the biggest pitfalls of a subpar senior diet is giving in to the temptation of processed, salty or sugary foods. These choices offer temporary comfort while the important functions that determine our longevity are adversely affected, including our taste buds.
American Dietetic Association (ADA) spokesperson, Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, has studied the effects of aging on our tastes buds commenting that,
“We don’t have a full understanding of why taste perception declines with age.”
Changing the lifelong mindset of eating whatever we want takes some doing but if kept up, the taste buds could actually change.Some believe that reintroducing the tongue and mouth to more clean, fresh fruits and vegetables may enhance not only taste but smell as well which can also decline as we age. In addition, the antioxidants these foods offer could act as a veritable force field for senior health.
A few handfuls of these snacks, each day, could be a senior’s easy access to more energy and less fatigue. They may also help reduce the chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, prostate disease, memory decline and inflamed joints.
Berries: Raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and especially blueberries.
Nuts: Particularly almonds, walnuts, cashews and pistachios.
Dr. Charles Fuchs, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston comments on a 2013 study in which he was lead author,
“We looked at nut consumption in approximately 119,000 Americans over the past 30 years,…People who were regular nut consumers had a significant reduction in [death from all causes].”
Try to eat nuts raw however lightly salted may be okay, check with your doctor. Also, nut butters (without added sugars or oils) are another way to get this nutritious snack into a senior daily diet.
Seeds: Flax, chia, hemp and pumpkin seeds mixed into cereal, Greek yogurt or a smoothie offer a high protein and energy boost.
Bring senior superfoods to the table to take the place of empty calorie, processed, packaged choices. Consider it ‘clinical nutrition’ offering a higher quality of living along with it.
Felicity Dryer is a senior health care journalist who also writes in women’s health and fitness columns. She hopes you enjoy this article, and encourages you to connect with her on Google+ if you feel inclined to do so!
As always, this blog is meant for informational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of a doctor or physician. Always consult with a physician before starting any new diet or exercise.