Eating healthy is important at every age, but it becomes even more so as we age, particularly for older adults with illness or signs of dementia. Getting the proper nutrition helps seniors maintain their mental acuteness, increases energy, aids in illness resistance and recovery, and makes chronic health problems easier to deal with. Sadly, an estimated 3.7 million seniors in the U.S. suffer from malnutrition. Failing to intake proper amount of fats, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, or minerals weakens the body, depriving it from the energy it needs to repair tissue and regulate bodily functions, such as blood flow, and making it more susceptible to sickness.
Healthy eating, however, doesn’t have to be a chore, involved dieting, or only eating bland foods. It’s advisable for seniors to keep wholesome foods in the house, get creative in the kitchen, and gather with friends to enjoy meals. Extra resources and options for home care in Phoenix are available for those who need them. Here are some more tips for preventing malnutrition as we age.
6 Tips to Prevent Malnutrition in Seniors
Half of seniors visiting the emergency room in the U.S. are there for malnutrition reasons, following these quick tips can help seniors get the proper nutrition. For seniors with difficulties running errands or cooking, it’s highly suggested to get help, including finding a quality Phoenix home health care provider.
Avoid Bad Carbs, Sodium, and Hidden Sugar
Most grocery stores are full of processed foods and refined sugars. Start checking labels and avoid foods with bad carbohydrates such as white flour and hidden sugars (corn syrup, molasses, brown rice syrup, and more). Using natural sweeteners such as honey and opting for complex carbohydrates in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables is best. Reducing sodium intake by seasoning with garlic, herbs, and spices instead of salt and look for “low sodium” foods lowers the risk of high blood pressure.
Getting the most nutrients out of food means preparing them correctly. Preserve nutrients by steaming or sauteing vegetables in olive, coconut or avocado oil. Eat raw foods when possible in vegetable salads or fruits
Cook By Color
One way to visually verify that nutrients are balanced is to cook according to color. Try to include five colors on your plate, especially from the rich array of colorful fruits and vegetables. Think berries, melons, tomatoes, spinach, yams, zucchini, and more.
Hire a Caregiver to Help
For many seniors completing supermarket runs and meal planning can be troublesome. If this is the case take the time to carefully select a caregiver from an experienced and reputable Phoenix home health care provider or other program. A caregiver can do everything from grocery shopping to meal planning and prep, making sure all nutritional needs are met.
Plan Between-Meal Snacks
Snacks can be great nutrition boosts when planned carefully. Think about incorporating more fruits, veggies, or nuts in creative ways like smoothies or peanut butter covered apple slices.
Make Meals Social Events
Staying social is a big boost for senior mental health levels so it makes sense to make meals social events. Whether it’s eating with the family or joining a program in senior home care in Phoenix.