I asked Suzanne of Kensho Nutrition to share her top nutrition tips for seniors for a guest blog post on Joyous Health. Her advice is excellent and ask you to please share these with your elderly friends and family members so they may live a longer, happier and healthier life.
By: Suzanne Ng
Seniors encounter many health issues as they age. However, there are general proactive steps one can take to lessen the severity of these issues.
TIP #1 Take a fish oil supplement because they are rich in EFAs: I know many seniors on a limited income and recommending something that gives the best bang for their buck is always a plus. Fish oil is one of them and something I always recommend. It is helpful in managing cardiovascular health by making our platelets less sticky and therefore reducing our likelihood of clots that can cause strokes or heart attacks. As well, it reduces atherosclerosis by lowering two repair proteins which encourages the spread of atherosclerotic tissue in arteries and in effect more fully open arteries. It also assists in reducing inflammation for those with osteoarthritis or injuries due to trauma and is a key factor in decreasing age related memory decline. Those at risk for Alzheimer's and/or dementia will find this extremely important.
Tip #2 Eat a Variety of Fresh Food: This tip can be applied to anyone since many settle into a regular routine regardless of age. Eating the exact same thing routinely for years increases one's chance of accumulating food sensitivities. When this happens, digestive issues crop up and effective absorbtion and assimilation of nutrients from food is reduced. Disease and other health related issues are guaranteed to become a problem. Also, as we age, stomach acid which is Key in helping one break down food in the digestive system is produced less. Eating seasonally and/or buying a CSA will help one increase variety in their diet.
Tip #3 Take a Probiotic or Eat Foods Rich in Good Bacteria: I know this is a favourite of Joy's as she has mentioned many times of the health benefits of probiotics. I'll be brief but essentially it helps increase your immune system which can be very helpful for seniors that get ill often. If you're encountering any food sensitivities (because you didn't follow Tip #2!) then probiotics is definitely your friend. Also, if you travel all over the globe regularly you will most definitely need this because eating in foreign countries can sometimes throw off your digestion. Some foods that are rich in good bacteria are Kombucha Tea, Kimchi, saurkraut, miso and kefir.
Tip #4 Take a CoEnzymeQ10 supplement: When our body becomes ill or imbalanced, it creates free radicals. One way of addressing this is to increase our antioxidants. CoEnzymeQ10 is an antioxidant nutrient and is a key factor in preventing atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular related problems. As well, many medications on the market directed at seniors have a side effect that drastically depletes your CoEnzymeQ10 reserves. If you take any heart medication it is imperative that you take this supplement.
Take #5 Include Medicinal Mushrooms in your diet or take it as a supplement: Fungi are closer to human than we realize. Traditionally used in ancient cultures for a range of conditions it is particularly useful for the immune, respiratory, circulatory, nervous, digestive and skeletal/muscular systems. They work very similarly like an adaptogen by helping the body return to a balanced state. Numerous studies suggest they contain compounds that support immunity, prevent infection and provide additive or synergistic effects in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Medicinal mushrooms include shitake, maitake, reishi and cordyceps. If you want to learn more about medicinal mushrooms, go to www.kensho-nutrition.com where I will post a more in depth article on this subject.
Since many of us know someone that is elderly or perhaps are a part of this demographic, I hope you find these tips practical and useful to you.