If you’ve taken it upon yourself to make sure that your elderly parents are staying as healthy, strong and active as possible, so that they can thoroughly enjoy their golden years, you certainly don’t want to forget to guide them when it comes to their diet and the supplements that they need to take in order to keep disease at bay. Remember, an aging body is more susceptible to illness, but with the right foods and supplements, your elderly parents can look and feel younger than other individuals their age.
Whole Foods are Key
Whole foods, especially when served in a raw state, provide more of the vital nutrients and enzymes that the human body requires to repair itself and stay strong. The more raw fruits and vegetables your elderly parents consume, the better. In this way, they will be getting all of the antioxidants that keep the cells of their bodies functioning optimally and they will also be getting plenty of plant-based, easy-to-digest protein and calcium that will maintain their muscles and bones. Plus, phytochemicals in plants help the body fight cancer and heart disease.
Whole grains are also important additions to a senior’s diet. And when it comes to snacking, seniors can enjoy nuts, seeds and other whole foods that are rich in nutrients and will help keep them fuller for longer periods of time.
Probiotics for Digestive and Immune Health
The elderly body needs assistance with digestion and the immune system begins in the digestive tract. Therefore, providing plenty of yogurt, whether it’s dairy-based or vegan, is a good place to start if you want to provide them with high quality probiotics that will work in the digestive tract to help break down foods and absorb nutrients. You can also purchase probiotic supplements that your parents can take every day if that’s easier.
Calcium and Vitamin D for Bones
Calcium and vitamin D are really important for bone health. For women, this is especially important because, after menopause, their risk of osteoporosis increases. And vitamin D is also necessary for breast health as well, especially since the risk of breast cancer increases with age.
Elderly individuals should be getting at least 700 mg of calcium every day from both diet and supplements. Remember, though, that your elderly parents should take some magnesium as well in order to help the body absorb and utilize the calcium, so a Calcium/Magnesium supplement that provides the right proportion of both nutrients is the best way to go. When it comes to vitamin D, have your parents’ doctor check their blood for the amount of vitamin D they already have and then determine, with the help of your doctor, how many milligrams they should be supplementing with daily.
Elderly individuals need specialized nutrition and supplements that will keep their aging bodies strong against disease. From calcium and vitamin D that protect bones, to fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients, making sure your elderly parents eat right can make a big difference in the way they feel.
Renee Correia, the author of this article, volunteers at Providence, leaders in assisted living in San Francisco. She is a nature lover and enjoys her free time playing with her pets.