May News: Eating & Drinking for Health

Eating & Drinking for Health


As we age, eating right can make a difference in our health and how we feel, and encourage a sense of well-being. All food and beverage choices matter. Focus on variety, amount and nutrition. Choose from all five food groups including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods and dairy.

Senior couple preparing salad together.

A healthy diet includes fresh, green vegetables.

Dehydration is ranked in the top ten most frequent reasons for Medicare hospitalizations. The average cost of this is nearly $3,000 dollars. Half of all patients hospitalized with dehydration as the primary diagnosis, die within one year.

Barriers to Good Nutrition Habits

But sometimes it’s not easy to get the good nutrition and hydration we need. Ill-fitting dentures, illness, lessening sense of taste, smell and thirst, and low activity levels decrease healthy eating and drinking. The environment is also a factor. Noisy, poorly lit dining areas, uncomfortable seating and similar stresses reduce appetite.

Small Adjustments Improve Daily Eating Habits

  • Add flavor to foods with spices and herbs instead of salt. Look for low-sodium packaged foods.
  • Add sliced fruits and vegetable to meals and snacks. Look for pre-sliced fruits and vegetables on sale if slicing and chopping is a challenge.
  • Ask your doctor for other options if your medications affect your appetite or desire to eat.
  • Drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day. If you can’t tolerate milk, try small amounts of yogurt, buttermilk, hard cheese or lactose-free foods.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals

Summer’s Bounty

It can be tough to eat enough fruits and vegetables for anyone. Growing older can make proper nutrition even more difficult. Here are some tips to get the most out of summer’s bounty of fruits and vegetables.

Caregiver and senior shopping at farmers market.

Learn about proper nutrition so you can make good choices.

  • Shop Farmers’ Markets – Get out. Walk about. Take home some fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Use Herbs – Add dill, thyme and rosemary to vegetables. They are packed with flavor and nutrition. You can grow them at home, too, and have fresh herbs at your fingertips all summer.
  • Get Grilling! – Marinate meats and veggies in plastic bags then toss on the grill!
  • Freeze fruit – Don’t worry about overbuying fruit at the farmer’s market. Fruit freezes beautifully! Pack ziploc bags with fruits like strawberries and blueberries for snacks or a morning smoothie.

It’s Getting Hotter Out. Be Sure To Stay Hydrated.

With the hot weather coming, many older people have problems with drinking enough fluids. That’s why it’s important to know about being well hydrated. Dehydration is one of the top ten frequent reasons for hospitalizations. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to keep your body water in balance.

Age Changes Things

The ability to feel thirst lessens with age. Older people do not feel the sensation of thirst as they did in younger years. In addition, older people may have a more difficult time remembering to get a drink and may have a more difficult time getting up to get a drink.

Seniors use the bathroom more often thus losing more fluid.

Our bodies start losing muscle and gaining fat as we age. Muscle holds water but fat does not, so body water decreases in older people.

Some medications commonly prescribed increase urination or help with constipation can also decrease body water.

Attractive senior woman drinking from a cool bottle of water in summer sunshine.

When the weather gets hot, stay hydrated to feel your best.

Symptoms of Dehydration

  • Feelings of thirst or dry mouth
  • Dark yellow urine
  • Fatigue and irritability

Water is needed to transport nutrients to your cells and transport waste out of the body. In order to move and flex your muscles, you need water. If your body is dehydrated, your muscles will be deprived of electrolytes and cramp. Other symptoms of dehydration are lightheadedness when standing, heart palpitations, nausea and weakness.

Avoid Dehydration

Dehydration can have some serious results since people have died because of dehydration. Although this sounds grim, it is easy to avoid dehydration.

  • Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. By this time you are already dehydrated.
  • Carry a water bottle and drink from it regularly.
  • Drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day. That may not be necessary because of certain medications you may be taking which retain water. Also fruits and vegetables contain fluids which keep you hydrated.
  • Keep a full water bottle in the refrigerator and take a drink every time you open the refrigerator.
  • Drink more in extreme heat to replace the water lost from sweating.
  • Do not replace water with alcohol or caffeinated drinks.

Summer Eating Is A Delight.

Happy Senior Couple Outside Cooking on A Summer Barbecue

Make protein a regular part of your nutritious summer fare.

Certain traditional dishes are served only in the summertime and are so very nutritious for you. Here are three that you often see at backyard barbeques and parties, or for everyday enjoyment.

Watermelon: Watermelon is low in fat and contains more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Lycopene is an antioxidant that has been shown to combat certain forms of cancer and heart disease. Watermelon is also packed with potassium, which is great for seniors suffering from potassium deficiency, or hypokalemia. Watermelon also contains significant amounts of vitamins A, C, and B6.

Deviled Eggs and Egg Salad:  Eggs are a good source of protein and contain many essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, E, B6 and B12. And, it’s not just egg whites that contain health benefits. Egg yolks contain choline, lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients essential for good eye health. Try swapping out the mayonnaise with Greek yogurt for a tangier, low-fat spin on classic egg recipes.

Coleslaw: No summer meal is complete without crispy, colorful slaw. Some like it tart, while others enjoy it sweet or creamy. Regardless of your preference, coleslaw is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Cabbage, the primary ingredient in most slaw recipes, is rich in vitamins C and K as well as cancer-fighting antioxidants. It also helps reduce inflammation in the body. Try adding shredded carrot, red cabbage, broccoli stalks, radishes, bell peppers or jicama. Even apples can go in slaw!

Blessings On Memorial Day

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Happy Memorial Day! Remember our fallen brave servicemen and servicewomen.

Learn about Memorial Day and ways to commemorate our fallen heroes.

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