Elderly Nutrition: Top 3 Herbs & Spices for Senior Health
As we get older, our nutritional needs change to adjust to the changing needs of our body and mind. Because older adults are at a higher risk of developing a variety of health problems, it’s imperative that the elderly should make a healthy diet a priority, as the right foods may prevent certain diseases that come with aging. The good news is that some of the best foods that keep your body and brain healthy can be grown indoors, with not much additional hassle. Moreover, these herbs and spices can add life to a bland dish, which can help seniors to regain their appetite.
Loss of appetite among the elderly
Many older people notice a decrease in their appetite as they age. In a study, this decline has been coined as the “anorexia of aging,” and 15% to 30% of seniors are estimated to have this condition. A reduced appetite can lead to nutritional deficiencies and weight loss, which can lead to serious illnesses among the elderly. Food intake and elderly nutrition guidelines should be followed to achieve optimum health. It would also benefit seniors to choose the best herbs and spices that will not only give their food an extra burst of flavor but will also help to prevent certain diseases.
The scent of rosemary is refreshing and uplifting, and this herb is easy to grow indoors. But giving soups, meats, and potatoes a nice flavor isn't all it can do: Research has found that being in a rosemary-scented room could improve the memory of older people. Meanwhile, another study notes that rosemary essential oil can help treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. So next time you're thinking about getting your parents or grandparents a present, you might as well consider an indoor garden with rosemary ;)
Turmeric, a spice which is often used in curries, is prized for its brilliant color and earthy flavor. Eating foods mixed with a bit of this spice may help alleviate pain brought about by arthritis, which afflicts almost 50% of older people ages 65 and above. A study has also shown that turmeric, when taken with a small amount of quercetin, an antioxidant found in apples, onions, and cabbage, may help prevent colon cancer.
This delicious spice is not only a mainstay in teas, fruit cakes, and stir fries, but it can also lower blood sugar levels among the elderly. A study has revealed that 10.9 million American adults aged 65 years and older are suffering from diabetes mellitus, and this number is projected to reach 26.7 million in 2050. One way to prevent or manage diabetes is to control one’s blood sugar levels, which can be done through frequent monitoring, cutting back on carbohydrates, sweets, and consuming food with ginger in it. It is recommended that seniors should consume no more than 4 grams of ginger per day to get the full benefits of this spice.
Seniors can increase their fresh herb and spice intake by brewing rosemary or ginger in teas, adding any of the featured spices and herbs to soups or stews, or sprinkling some over meat and fish dishes. By doing so, you not only ensure your brain and body health, but you also add wholesome and delicious flavors to your food which will make you look forward to every meal.
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