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Brain-Friendly Foods to Keep Alzheimer’s and Dementia at Bay


August 06, 2018 in: Memory Care (dementia/alzheimers), Nutrition (hydration/food/etc), Senior Health,

You are what you eat. The food that you consume plays a vital role in your health. Meanwhile, the number of people suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia has increased. You have to wonder – am I next?

These diseases can affect anyone, and you should take every precaution. Did you know that you can do that with food? Yes, there are some foods that can actually reduce the chances of you getting dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Here are some brain-healthy foods that will help you stay healthy and happy:

1.Milk

Milk can help make your bones stronger. But did you know that it is also brain-friendly? Consuming milk regularly can help raise glutathione – an antioxidant that naturally occurs in older healthy people. This antioxidant is known to prevent oxidative stress, which is responsible for causing damage to the brain.

2.Cherries and Berries

These fruits are not only delicious, but also brain-friendly. They are rich in vitamin C and E. Eating cherries and berries protects your brain from damaging free radicals as they are rich in anthocyanin. These berries also have anti-inflammatory properties, which are vital for brain health.

3.Leafy Greens

Uncle Vernon from Harry Potter may call it, “rabbit food”, but they are a perfect food for your brain health. No matter what age you are, finishing your greens is good for your health. Spinach, collards, kale, broccoli, and other green leafy veggies are rich in vitamin A as well as vitamin C.

4.Nuts

Do you like snacking on potato chips? Well, how about you snack on something that is equally delicious and also brain-friendly? Nuts are filled with antioxidants, fiber, and healthy fats that not only keep your brain healthy but also your heart.

5.Beans

Beans should be a regular part of your diet. This miraculous food is a perfect package when it comes to keeping Alzheimer’s and dementia at bay. They are low in fats and calories and high in protein and fiber.

6.Fish

Fish is not only delicious, but also healthy. Consuming fish protects the function of your brain and keeps it healthy. And when your brain is healthy, you are at less risk of getting dementia or Alzheimer’s.

7.Olive Oil

Instead of cooking your food in regular oil, cook it in olive oil people who eat olive oil are less likely to face cognitive decline.

How many of your favorites made the list? Even if they didn’t, you should eat these brain-friendly foods as they will lower the risks of you getting these awful diseases. Stay healthy!

Top Ways to Reduce the Chance of Senior Malnutrition


January 12, 2018 in: Nutrition (hydration/food/etc), Senior Health,

According to an article published in Health Community Key, around 3.7 million seniors suffer from malnutrition in the U.S. It’s very important to eat healthy as you start getting older. As an adult, your body has a fast metabolism and therefore can cope up with the fatty food you eat. However, as you age, the body’s food absorption rate drops, which leads to various health problems.

When Does Malnutrition Start?

In seniors, malnutrition is usually a combination of dental and health problems. It can go two ways: It will either cause a decrease in appetite or your loved one will find trouble eating.

Causes of Malnutrition

According to Postgraduate Medical Journal, the causes of malnutrition stem from three factors - medical, social, and psychological. Following are the risks caused by these factors:

Medical Factors

  • Poor dentition and dysphasia
  • Poor appetite
  • Respiratory disorders such as emphysema
  • Physical disability such as poor mobility, arthritis
  • Loss of smell and taste
  • Endocrine disorders such as diabetes, thyrotoxicosis
  • Gastrointestinal disorders such as malabsorption
  • Infections such as chest infection, urinary tract infection
  • Neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease, cerebrovascular accident

Psychological

  • Dementia
  • Confusion
  • Bereavement
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Social Factors

  • Isolation
  • Poverty
  • Financial problems

5 Top Ways to Reduce Malnutrition in Senior

1.Cook Smart

When any food item is cooked beyond its time limit, it loses its nutrition. Cooking smart is all about eating raw vegetables, boiling them or sautéing them in coconut, avocado or olive oil. Make sure your loved one eats a vegetable or fruit salad with every meal.

2.Avoid Sodium, Hidden Sugar and Bad Carbs

Your local grocery store is full of refined sugar and processed food items. Some examples of bad carbohydrates are white flour, brown rice syrup, molasses, corn syrup, white bread, etc. So, start checking labels when buying food for your loved one and make sure the food does not contain artificial sweeteners. Go for natural sweeteners like honey. As for carbohydrates, opt for beans, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Lastly, lower their sodium intake and start seasoning their food with spices, herbs, and garlic.

3.Cook by Color

A visually appealing plate looks more appetizing than blobs of tasty food. A great way to balance your loved one’s plate is to include five colored items such as fruits, vegetables, and protein.

4.Hire a Caregiver

Making supermarket runs and then cooking a balanced meal can be very taxing. If you are unable to cook for your loved one, then hire a caregiver to cook them three meals a day.

5.Snacks are Nutritious Too

Does your loved one feel hungry in the middle of the day? Yes, there are nutritious snacks too that will tide them over until dinner time. These snacks include nuts, apple slices covered in peanut butter, Greek yogurt, cheese and crackers, avocado on toast, fruit-vegetable smoothie, oatmeal cookies, etc.

To handle malnutrition, you should get your loved one help in dealing with medical, social, and psychological factors first. The more they socialize, the more active their lifestyle will be which will eventually improve their appetite. 

How to Develop and Keep Stronger Bones As We Grow Older


October 13, 2017 in: Nutrition (hydration/food/etc), Senior Fitness, Senior Health,

Bones in our body are what make us stand straight and survive the day. Bones are our building foundation and a strong foundation is necessary for us to function properly. They take on all the wear and tear throughout our lives. Our body keeps building our bones every day, healing them and refreshing them until the age of 30, after which the process slows down.

 

Weak bones lead to osteoporosis, arthritis, and overall bodily fatigue. Because of weak bones, you may feel unable to carry on your daily routine work, your body aches most of the time, and you feel tired for no apparent reason. As mentioned earlier, bones are our foundation, which is why it is very important for us to keep them healthy and strong as we grow old.

Here are some ways you can look after your bones’ health and work towards keeping them strong.

 

Reduce Your Cola Consumption

So many videos are out there showing how putting a tooth in cola glass can decompose it completely after some time; now that is how strong phosphoric acid in carbonated drinks is. It erodes the bone mass and depletes them. This is why people who consume soda on a daily basis have lesser bone density than those who do not. Soda has caffeine and phosphoric acid as the main ingredients, which eats away the bones. Cut down on your cola consumption and increase intake of fresh juices, and you will notice a difference in the health of your bones yourself.

 

Increase the Intake of Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium is the building block of our bones, which is why nutritionists stress on taking milk regularly, as it is a great source of calcium. However, sometimes when our calcium intake is proper and yet our bones are getting weak, it is because your bones are not processing calcium as they should. Vitamin D is needed by your body to absorb the calcium it takes in and then let the bones process it. Eat food rich in vitamin D and calcium. Daily recommended intake of calcium is 1000mg. Drink milk twice a day, eat leafy food and green vegetables and make orange juice a part of your daily breakfast.

 

Increase Magnesium Intake

Magnesium is important for the proper formation of your bones. Its deficiency can lead to softer bones, which is one of the main reasons of bodily strain. Include dark greens, seeds and nuts, a combination of lentils and beans, bananas and dark chocolate in your diet to give your body the required amount of magnesium.

 

Cut back on Processed Food and Take Whole Grain

Processed food usually has all its nutrients taken out and mostly contains fats and sugar. Switch your diet in a way that you only consume organic food; milk, vegetable, and meat. Avoid can food and include whole grain products in your diet as they have a full range of nutrients needed by your body.

 

Exercise daily

Physical exercise is needed by your body for strengthening bones and muscles. Weight building exercises force our muscles to rebuild themselves stronger than before. Same goes for the bones attached to these muscles. Exercise makes them get stronger and better than before. However, if you have osteoporosis, then go for low impact exercises, which do not risk breaking your bones.

The Best Diet Tips for Seniors


July 07, 2017 in: Nutrition (hydration/food/etc),

Planning your retirement? Don’t forget to plan your diet too because that list is equally important! As we grow old, our body looses that bounce we once used to have. Age truly does a number on you but as long as you are following a healthy nutritious diet, you can control the major aspects of your life. The ageing process comes with one of the biggest risk factors – Malnutrition. Did you know that a person’s metabolic rate falls down by 50% as they reach 80? They experience a condition called Sarcopenia in which they lose muscle mass. According to the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle (SCWD), the loss of muscles starts at the age of 50 by 1 to 2% and increases steadily as a person ages.  

What’s more Important – Quality or Quantity?

For seniors, it’s not just about quantity. In fact, there focus must be more towards quality. When their metabolism rate slows down, eating meals frequently can lead to indigestion and heart burn. Since most seniors don’t partake in any physical activity, their energy needs decrease. Therefore, the diet becomes more about ‘what’ they should be eating rather than how much.

Senior citizens who are only involved in their day-to-day activity should consume around 2,000 calories. Let’s set aside physical activity for a minute and focus on what they require in a diet. Following are some tips on how senior citizens should plan their diet:

Tip #1

Switch From White to Brown

Food items such as bread, rice, noodles, cereal, potatoes, etc make up a major portion of the diet. At least half of an older person’s meals should contain this food group. Whole grain foods like brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholegrain crackers and oats are rich in nutrients such as folic acid, copper, iron and Vitamin B types. They reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, colorectal cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

Tip #2

Focus More on the Protein

It’s time to get a little creative. Doesn’t a dish like “Slow Roasted Chicken in Flaxseed Oil with Walnut Dressing” sound extra delicious? Then why not try using these ingredients. The protein section of the diet contains food rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Foods such as Chia seeds, pecans, fish, edamame, etc help with inflammation. A number of diseases can be prevented with this food group and eliminate the risks associated with the two most prevalent diseases found in elders due to malnutrition – Coronary heart disease and cancer.

Tip #3

Include Light Smoothies in Your Diet

For elders, at least 2 cups of fruit and 2 ½ cups of vegetable is recommended. Sadly, most elders fail to meet this requirement. Two of the biggest sources of calcium are vegetables and dairy products. Calcium is mostly associated with bone development. However, in elders, calcium helps to preserve the mass of the bones. Today, many people are following the “Green Smoothie” diet. Although, this diet alone is not sufficient for elders, they can add a glass of smoothie to their diet. The trick is to make light smoothies with more fat-free milk and vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach and turnip greens. Fruits such as apple, dates, figs, apricot, berries and limes can also be added.

Tip #4

Limit Your Salt Sprinkles

High blood pressure is quite common in elders. Restaurant, frozen and processed foods are usually high in sodium content. When eating at home, avoid stock cubes, seasonings and MSG. Use natural ingredients such as ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, etc. When eating out, do not add any additional sauces to your meal and make sure to advise your waiter to make the food less salty.

Tip #5

Hydrate

People are normally advised to drink at least eight glasses of water in a day. There’s no hard and fast rule to this, as you can go high but not low. In elders, this amount is extremely important because it helps in eliminating waste products, maintains blood pressure and regulates the body temperature.

For elders, making dietary changes is difficult. Habits formed over the years can be hard to let go. A nutritious diet plan can not only benefit an elder physically but mentally too. The above tips have been designed according to “My Plate”, a system by the United States Department of Agriculture that allows a person to plan a healthy diet. Why not explore, further food groups and incorporate them into these tips to create the best diet for yourself.

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