It’s no doubt that food provides important nutrients for the body, but how do you make sure your senior loved one is receiving the nutrients they need for their aging body?
In answer, start with making sure they are receiving the right amount of vitamins, and not just from supplements. In fact, there are many foods that contain essential vitamins the body needs without the need for dietary pills.
The vitamins A-D are referred to as Antioxidants vitamins which can help remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents from the body, making it easier for the body to fight diseases and illnesses.
Here’s a list of food sources for each:
- Vitamin A and beta-carotene. Vitamin A plays an important role in immune function, vision, reproduction, and cellular communication. Vitamin A-rich foods include pumpkin, squash, carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, and mangoes.
- Vitamin B is vital for maintaining cell health and energy. Such foods as; brown rice, barley, red meat, poultry and fish, beans, seeds and nuts, avocados, bananas, and citrus fruits contain Vitamin B.
- Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is necessary for the growth, development, and repair of body tissue and is involved in many body functions such as the formation of collagen, absorption of iron, the immune system, wound healing, and maintenance of cartilage, bones, and teeth. Citrus fruits, such as oranges, as well as in strawberries, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and asparagus are some foods that contain Vitamin C.
- Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine” vitamin, is needed to maintain strong bones. It does so by helping the body absorb calcium which is one of the bone’s main building blocks. Vitamin D can be consumed from milk, and some orange juices, Salmon and mackerel, eggs, and liver.
- Vitamin E dissolves fat. Such foods as vegetable oil, almonds, whole grain, wheat germ, sweet potatoes, and yams contain Vitamin E.
Some other important nutrients to include in your senior’s diet are protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
-Protein is used to build and repair tissue throughout the body. They also help fight off infections and boosts energy. Such foods as seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, nuts and seeds, and dairy contain protein.
-Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Fruits, vegetables, dairy, and grain all contain carbohydrates. Sweeteners like sugar, honey, and foods with added sugars such as candy, soft drinks, and cookies also contain carbohydrates, but it is best to obtain it from the fruit, vegetables, dairy, and grain food groups.
-Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that can help prevent stomach and intestinal problems, such as constipation. It can also help lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Fiber is found in many plant-based foods including, fruits and vegetables, nut, seeds, beans, and whole grains.
–Fats provide energy and can help the body absorb certain vitamins. This kind of fat is not made by the body, it must be consumed. Dairy products, meat, poultry and fish, eggs, nuts, avocados, and coconuts are some sources for natural body fat nutrients.
-Look for Monounsaturated fats and Polyunsaturated fats. Both good fats for the body. They can be found in oils such as canola, olive sunflower as well as in avocados and peanut butter. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils and in fatty fish, walnuts, and some seeds.
Avoid too many foods containing saturated fats and trans fats which include foods like pizza, burgers, tacos, microwave popcorn, and coffee creamer, just to name a few. Many of these types of food are artificially produced and are unhealthy.
So just remember, it can be as easy as “ABC,” including D and E as well proper fat intake to make sure your senior loved one is maintaining a healthy diet and is receiving the nutrients they need.
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