Eating is one of the most basic tasks a person can do, but doing it right is more complicated than it looks. While the act of eating is natural in order to take in the nutrients and minerals that your body needs to function, the reality is that we don’t often eat enough to meet those needs.
This can be especially true for seniors. Our previous article ‘Common Nutrition Problems Among the Elderly and How to Combat Them’ discussed a few of the nutrition problems that senior citizens are more likely to experience. These include limited food choices leading to nutrient deficiencies, which can exacerbate many lifestyle diseases.
Lifestyle diseases are often hard to combat, because these diseases are the results of personal habits, sometimes built up over decades. Major lifestyle diseases include some cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any real cures for lifestyle diseases. What you can do, however, is adopt healthier behaviors to help manage and reduce the symptoms of these diseases. Avoiding vices like smoking or drinking alcohol, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly are all important elements for creating a healthier lifestyle.
The cornerstone to a healthier lifestyle, of course, is a healthier diet. Elderly people often have to work around dietary restrictions due to disease or physical handicaps. However, restrictions don’t mean that a senior person can’t also have a healthy, nutritious diet. Below, we’ve listed out a few foods that can help boost your nutrition and manage the symptoms of common lifestyle diseases.
Blueberries are a tart and delicious snack, and feature on quite a few healthy eating recipes. They’re popular not just because of their flavor, but because of their incredible antioxidant and anti-cancer abilities.
The National Foundation for Cancer Research found that blueberries helps sensitize cancer cells to radiation. This significantly improves the efficacy of radiation therapy, and could reduce the number of chemotherapy or radiation cycles for cancer patients.
The antioxidants in blueberries are also important for reducing the abnormal cell growth and spread of cancer cells. Plus, resveratrol in blueberries not only inhibits cancer growth in all stages, but can even promote cardiovascular health.
Apple Cider Vinegar
You’ve probably heard about the benefits of apple cider vinegar. The jack-of-all-trades of your household pantry, ACV can be used for everything from cleaning to skincare. It also makes a really tasty vinaigrette to boot.
One lesser-known effect of ACV, however, is its ability to help manage your blood sugar levels. A little over 1 in 10 Americans suffer from diabetes, while 1 in 3 Americans have prediabetes. This makes managing blood sugar levels especially important.
According to a post on ACV gummies by Brightcore, research has indicated that apple cider vinegar can lead to lower blood glucose levels. Because ACV’s liquid form might be too acidic for some, you can also opt for ACV gummies as a friendlier, tastier alternative. As long as your gummies are naturally-made and sourced from the best apples, you’re basically achieving the same effects.
Cardiovascular disease is by far one of the most prevalent lifestyle diseases. It’s also the leading cause of death around the world, affecting millions of people yearly. Many people are at risk for cardiovascular disease, including those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, obesity, and a history of smoking.
If you’re recovering from a stroke or aiming to prevent CVD, diet plays a crucial role. Lean protein like poultry is especially important as part of your journey to better heart health. Science Daily reports that taurine, which is found in the dark meat of poultry as well as in some types of fish and shellfish, can lower the risk of coronary heart disease among women. Plus, other nutrients in lean protein can help lower your cholesterol levels overall and keep you at a healthier weight.
One lifestyle disease that many people struggle with is alcoholism. Substance abuse can make you averse to food, so many newly sober people are often in need of nutritional support.
The Temper notes that substance abuse can throw your gut’s microbiome out of balance. You can end up losing out on important probiotics and healthy bacteria that keep your immune system balanced.
Fermented foods like miso play an important role in restoring your gut microbiome to full health. Not only does a healthy gut mean a stronger immune system, probiotics have also been found to produce serotonin and dopamine. This increases your mood and energy levels and reduces your reliance on alcohol, keeping you healthier overall.