If you have senior citizen family members at home, you may agree that their foods choices and dietary requirements differ from that of other members. It is vital to ensure their diet plan matches their present health needs. One has also to remember that the body mass and metabolism slows down as a person ages. Besides, ageing brings changes in one’s digestive system, appetite and food preferences. Moreover, older adults may need soft foods that are easy to chew and easy to digest. At the same time, giving them a wholesome diet with foods rich in nutrients is extremely necessary so that their immunity and overall health remains strong.
With age, energy needs may reduce, but nutrition requirements increase. It is the golden rule to follow while ensuring their dietary needs are met. Meals taste better when you eat together as a family. Your loved ones, especially elderly members, deserve the best care, including a healthy diet plan that is customised to suit their health condition.
In this article, we tell you some best foods for senior citizens that you should offer ageing parents or grandparents at home.
>>Also Read: Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Seniors
1. Oatmeal as Breakfast Option
Breakfast cereals such as oats, cornflakes, and porridge may give senior citizens the necessary dose of Vitamin B12. Often found in animal products, Vitamin B12 is essential for improving nerve functioning, and production of red blood cells in elderly individuals.
2. Vegetable Soups loaded with Nutrients
Prepare soups with vegetables such as carrots, tomatoes, spinach, green peas etc. that are ideal options for dinner. Include green leafy vegetables and potassium-rich foods in their diet. It would help in controlling their blood pressure and improving the flexibility of muscles. However, one should strike a balance when it comes to the amount of potassium intake.
3. Seasonal Fruits to Fight Ailments
Fruits contain abundant nutrients that keep the body healthy and strong. Fruits such as oranges contain Vitamin C with antioxidant properties, thus helping in keeping heart diseases at bay. Vitamin C not only boosts immunity but also helps in healing wounds and improving skin elasticity. Senior citizens who often complain of constipation should take plenty of fruits help in bowel movement and aid in the digestion process since fruits contain ample fibre content.
4. Dairy Products for Bone Health
Calcium-rich foods such as milk and green vegetables are vital for older adults, especially women. Dairy products provide calcium to help the body deal with conditions such as osteoporosis. Also, it is better to combine them with foods rich in Vitamin D that aids in calcium absorption in the body. One can go for yoghurt that also contains proteins and probiotics to aid digestion. Also, to avoid deficiency of vitamin D, make sure your ageing parents get some sunshine outdoors.
5. Herbs and Spices for Immunity
Herbs and spices work wonders for keeping the body healthy. Some of them help in fighting chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and reducing risks of cancer. For instance, ginger helps in absorption of nutrients. Garlic is another spice that not only adds flavour to food; it also lowers blood pressure, blood sugar level and cholesterol. Other options are aloe vera, turmeric, and cinnamon that have many healing and immunity-boosting properties, thus helping the body in fighting off infections.
Some ageing adults may be taking medications for specific ailments, and this could cause side effects such as loss of appetite, and stomach problems, thus leading to poor nutrition. Through mindful eating and making judicious choices of foods, one can avoid these issues.
To sum up, we can say that diet for senior citizens should be a balanced one comprising of carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Additionally, they should keep a watch on their water intake. Ageing reduces the body ability to conserve water. Hence, to prevent dehydration and other health problems, it is necessary to stay hydrated. In case, seniors are dealing with a kidney or liver ailment; then it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Have you opted for a health cover for your senior citizen parents? If not, it is time you choose a Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan that will give them financial security in case of a medical emergency. Visit the website of Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare Health Insurance) and opt for Care Senior. The policy offers many benefits that include cashless hospitalisation, annual health check-up and no claim bonus.