We’re offering advice on the importance of healthy eating to the elderly as part of BNF (British Nutrition Foundation) Healthy Eating Week, which takes place from June 11 until 15.
It is extremely important that the elderly are well hydrated and eat the right meals, ensuring they get all the nutrients they need.
A diet rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids is a must and will have great benefits for the skin – salmon, broccoli, blueberries and nuts are all rich in antioxidants so should feature in an elderly person’s diet on a regular basis.
Protein is also important with each meal. Not only can it help energy levels but it is great for keeping the skin firm. Fats such as avocado can help dry or mature skin hold onto water too.
As a treat, a small piece of dark chocolate (70% chocolate or more) is a great source of magnesium and is very high in antioxidants. It can help prevent free radical cell damage and research has linked it with helping to lower blood pressure.
It’s important that an elderly person’s diet is varied and that they continue to enjoy food. Colourful fruit and vegetables can really help liven up meal times and provide lots of nutrients too.
The BNF Healthy Eating Week is about raising awareness for the charity and how to eat more healthily and live a better life.
It wants to encourage and promote healthy eating and drinking habits, being physically active, food provenance and cooking from scratch as opposed to eating out and ready-made, processed food.
As well as personal and hygiene care, our carers also take on tasks such as preparing meals for our service users and we work closely with them and their families to ensure they get everything they need in their diet to remain as fit and healthy as possible.
We are currently in an age of ‘super foods’. One that we recommend for our elderly service users is kale as it is one of the most nutritionally rich vegetables around and is an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C. It is also virtually fat free and low in calories too.
Garlic, while not being brilliant for your breath in the morning, is another super food that should be in everyone’s diet. Research has also shown that it can decrease osteoarthritis in women, contains other compounds that have been found to help protect cells in the heart and also lowers blood pressure.
Berries can support brain and cognitive function and help reduce depression. Bananas contain B6, amino acid tryptophan and carbohydrate to help boost mood and aid a good night’s sleep. Eggs contain vitamin D, which stimulates the production of serotonin in the brain and a drink of green tea is great for aiding digestion.