Senior Care: Getting the Most out of Food

Interim HealthCare Blogs
Posted: 4/17/2018 9:36 AM by Interim HealthCare
Interim Healthcare can help its patients choose the right types of foods for a healthy diet, which is just one important key to maintaining good health in elderly individuals. It’s essential to include a balance of vitamins, minerals, protein and carbohydrates for senior citizens in particular. Seniors and those that are cooking for them, such as family members and senior home care professionals, should pay special attention to foods that are low in cholesterol, fat and sugar, but high in vitamins and protein. A variety of fruits and vegetables, protein and whole grains are essential ingredients for a healthy diet. Within our senior care services, we offer customized meal preparation, planning and shopping assistance to help keep seniors on track with a well-balanced diet.
Locating foods with high concentrations of vitamins and minerals can be perplexing sometimes. Here are a few tips:
1. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends a healthy diet including foods from five of the six food groups to promote good health and lower risks of chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain cancers. The five food groups for a well-balanced daily diet are fruits; vegetables; breads and cereals; milk and cheeses; meat, fish, dry beans and poultry. Fats, sweets and alcohol also make up a food group, but eating choices from this group should be limited. 
2. Seniors should especially focus on calcium, protein, fiber, and vitamins A, C and E. Here are a few ideas on which foods are rich sources of these.
3. Foods that have no cholesterol are especially healthy for seniors. Fruits and vegetables fall into this group, which can be made into smoothies and soups. Most of them are low in fat as well! You can find vitamin A in fruits and vegetables such as Chinese cabbage, pumpkin, spinach and cantaloupe.  Other foods high in vitamin A include picked herring, liver and cooked cereals.
4. Vitamin E is great for keeping skin healthy, and protects scrapes and bruises during the healing process. You can find high levels of Vitamin E in tomato products, avocados, spinach, nuts, peanut butter and herring. You can also find it in lower cholesterol oil, such as canola. Sources rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, guava, strawberries, pineapple, green pepper, broccoli, kale and peas.
5. Calcium is found in foods traditionally referred to as “dairy products.” Milk that is low-fat or no-fat is especially healthy for an older age group, although other types of milk have calcium as well. Cheese and yogurt also have high calcium levels. Other high-calcium foods not included in this food group are oatmeal, tofu, pink salmon, white beans, okra, clams, collards and molasses.
6. Foods high in fiber help the digestive system stay regular. High-fiber foods include kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, soy beans, and Navy beans. You should also keep an eye out for artichokes, crackers, pears, bulgur, bananas, parsnips, oat muffins and apples for a rich source of fiber.
7. Protein is the body’s fundamental building block. It replaces enzymes and cells, an essential function in seniors. While some foods high in protein are also high in cholesterol and fat, varying sources of protein and choosing carefully will keep a nutritious diet on track. Create meals that include poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and meat.
At Interim HealthCare we know how important it is for seniors to get the proper nutrition. If you’re concerned that a loved one isn’t eating properly or may have some difficulty preparing meals but they are determined to remain independent contact us to see how with just a few hours a week we come in and prepare some meals to ensure they are getting the nutrition they need.