Importance of Nutrition for Aging Adults
While cleaning up after dinner one night, I saw a medical segment on the CBS Evening News that caught my attention. A study published in the American Heart Association journal reported that multi-vitamins, minerals, and supplements were ineffective at promoting heart health. Most seniors I know take these over-the-counter products to better their heart and overall health, as well as to boost their nutritional intake…and they spend good money for them!
Now, I’ve taken vitamins since the tiny Flintstones version Mom gave my siblings and me when we were young. However, it is important to recognize that even though vitamins, minerals and supplements are commonly found in the pharmacy area at most stores, they are not regulated by the FDA, and there are many unknowns when it comes to their quality, side effects and what good they are actually doing in the body.
Dr. Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told CBS News, "Americans who are taking these supplements presumably because they're concerned about their health would be better served by spending their money on good nutrition in the form of a healthy diet.”
The news report continued, “Researchers say the best vitamins and minerals come from the produce aisle, not a pill bottle. Fruits and vegetables already have a proven track record in lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke.”
The information in this news report re-emphasized the importance of nutrition in aging adults and how those multi-vitamins, minerals and supplements should never serve as substitutes to meet the recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals for good health.
I have noticed many seniors who live alone don’t always eat the way they should. They may not be able to cook like they once did, so they skip meals, frequent restaurants and fast food establishments, or settle for something convenient that is processed and microwavable. This is not conducive to a healthy diet. Processed foods contain preservatives and chemicals the body doesn’t need; and the fat content is typically higher in restaurant food – particularly fast food – and it is usually loaded with sodium.
Preparing nutritious meals with good sources of protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables is vital for seniors to maintain better overall health, without the unknowns of costly vitamins and supplements. [Always consult your physician about your specific dietary recommendations.]
Another thought: Forego the Publix produce aisle and opt for a local Farmers Market. Seniors often enjoy strolling through farmers markets, and there are many in Pasco & Pinellas Counties. Not only could it be a nice outing with your loved one, but it provides them the opportunity to select from a healthy variety of farm-fresh fruits, veggies, herbs, and even eggs, like they may have done when they were young.
Once you bring home the fresh and flavorful bounty, prepare a delicious meal and share it with them! It encourages seniors to eat better and eat more when they are not dining alone.
Make sure the seniors in your life are drinking plenty of water, too, especially in our extremely hot Florida climate. Seniors don’t always feel thirsty, so it’s good to say something or actually put a bottle or glass of water in their hand as a reminder.
Do you know a senior who could benefit from the assistance of a compassionate caregiver who can shop for healthy food and prepare well-balanced, nutritious meals? If so, I would welcome the opportunity to sit down in a FREE consultation with you and your loved one at your convenience. You are under no obligation to enlist our services, but it is a great opportunity to learn more about how a Home Helpers® caregiver can help!
Home Helpers® is honored to have received the Provider of Choice 2017 & 2018 awards from Home Care Pulse, and we proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539