Healthy eating is important for healthy aging. Healthy eating is key for brain and heart health which can help prevent chronic conditions as we age. Maintaining a healthy diet and weight is crucial for overall healthy aging.
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Cooking with your aging loved one is a great way to ensure healthy choices and also bond with them. Ask them to share some of their favorite recipes and if they are not currently in writing, record them in their personal cookbook. Many older adults will enjoy sharing stories associated with the memories the foods bring back to them. This gives the older adult and caregiver both joy.
Many seniors are content eating what they are familiar with. However you can also attempt to introduce some new recipes to keep things interesting. Consider buying a cookbook (such as the healthy seniors cookbook) or culinary magazine to work with. Pictures are important- we eat with our eyes first!
The Keto diet has shown to be a good way to maintain weight. Check out this guide to Keto diet for over age 50 for tips on this lifestyle.
The Mediterranean Style Diet
Research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet is very healthy for aging and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. This diet is rich green leafy veggies, fish, whole grains, and nuts.
One thing to always be conscientious of is food safety. Make sure foods are always prepared and stored at the right temperature. Using a cooking thermometer is a good safety measure. I highly recommend getting different color cutting boards. That way meat can be cut on one, vegetables on another for example. This will help prevent food borne illnesses. Another safety risk especially for elderly with dementia is that they may forget that they have something cooking on the stove. Having an auto stove shut off can help prevent fires in the home.
It is also important to keep the senior’s medical needs in mind when cooking for them. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, for example may have special dietary restrictions. They can enjoy their favorite foods. However some adjustments may need to be made to them healthy and on track with their diets. Keeping a food journal can be helpful especially for those with diabetes.
Some seniors will need to watch their salt intake. There are also many ways that flavor can be added to food without upping the salt content. Spices such as garlic and ginger can significantly improve the taste of a recipe, while keeping the sodium level down.