Senior Nutrition: Top Eating Healthy TipsBy Jill Poser September 27, 2012 | 10:00 PMPosted in: Senior Safety, Family
Here I am in
south Florida and as a geriatric care manager I always have the concern that my
clients use their medical
alert systems, have enough
water each day to avoid dehydration and eat a proper diet to avoid
malnutrition and other health issues.
Yet, recently I am noticing that most of my clients are not thirsty very
often. When I am with each one, male or
female, I make certain to carry extra water bottles. I hear myself asking if he
or she is thirsty or if I can please pour a glass of water. Most of the time the answer is the same, “No
thank you, I am not really thirsty.” We are in the midst of the hottest time of
the year and someone is not thirsty? How
can that be?
you know that when it comes to senior nutrition, water is the most important
and as we age there can actually be a disassociation between how hydrated our
bodies are and how thirsty we feel. Of
course this is of particular concern in the summer months and in tropical
climates all year round.
Water serves many
essential functions and adequate water intake can reduce stress on your kidney
function, ease constipation, flush toxins out of the body and help keep joints
flexible and the mind clear! We are all supposed to
drink the equivalent of five to eight glasses of water each day and for
many that may be easier said than done. If
you want to eat healthy, consider eating foods with high water content that may
help you or your loved one get more water in your body such as: melons, grapes,
cucumbers, onions, apples, cabbage, soups, lettuces and vegetable juices. Be
mindful that these fruits and veggies can all be important
contributors of fluid in our diets but do not take the place of water.
As a care manager, I
am also trained to know that as we get older we tend to need fewer calories.
After all, most of us are not as physically active as we once were and our
metabolic rates slow down. Yet our bodies still require the same or higher
levels of nutrients for optimal health.
Sometimes having this awareness does not make it any easier with my
clients. We must all be mindful and
understand the challenges so many face when having to prepare healthy meals,
especially as frailty becomes an issue. It is so
helpful to seek guidance, while we are healthy and capable, about senior
nutrition and forms of food that can best meet our needs emphasizing
nutrient-dense foods, foods high in nutrients in relation to the
calories they contain. Complex carbohydrates; whole, enriched, and
fortified grains and cereals, such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread are
an important part of our diet. Brightly-colored vegetables, such as carrots and
broccoli, deeply-colored fruit, such as berries and melon are all high in
recommended nutrients. Any senior nutrition program should include low-fat and
non-fat dairy products, such as yogurt and lactose-free milk, instead of whole
milk products. Fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs are important sources of
protein. Dry beans and nuts are good protein options and easy snacks. Think
about cooking with liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads as they are low in
saturated and trans fats. By example, canola oil is said to be one of
the healthiest of the cooking oils; low in saturated fat content and high mono
unsaturated fat. Sunflower Oil is low in saturated fat, high in Vitamin E. A
healthy diet also includes olive oil. There are different varieties of olive
oil. Extra virgin olive oil is most commonly used and the healthiest of all the
oils; it is high in mono unsaturated fat which has been shown to help reduce
the risk of heart disease.
If you are a caregiver
or have a loved one you care about, to ensure their personal safety become educated as best you can as to creative ways to generate
more fluid intake. Help make it
easy to say ‘yes’ to fluids. Learn about senior nutrition and be an advocate
whenever you can. When you are not certain, seek guidance from a health care provider. Remember, it is always best to be safe,
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