If the seniors in your life are more prone to indulge in the numerous junk and fast food choices that are so readily available, they’re in good company. Although these types of foods are convenient, they are usually full of calories, cholesterol and fat and lack fiber along with other key nutrients that are needed to fuel aging bodies. In fact, as few as 5% of us are getting enough fiber – something extremely important for the elderly.
Key Reasons Why Fiber Is Essential
Fiber’s many health benefits include:
- Weight management: Lower in calories and slower to digest, foods that are high in fiber help us to feel fuller longer.
- Reduced cholesterol: With fiber in the digestive system, the human body absorbs lower levels of cholesterol.
- Blood sugar regularity: Due to the fact that high-fiber foods take more time to be digested, steady blood sugar is sustained.
- Improved gastrointestinal tract functioning: Fiber in the gastrointestinal tract stimulates the intestines, reducing problems from constipation.
- Lower cancer risk: Sufficient levels of fiber in the diet help safeguard against certain types of cancer, such as colon cancer.
How to Increase Fiber Intake for Seniors
If a senior’s diet has been lacking in adequate amounts of fiber, it is necessary to incorporate more fiber gradually. Incorporating a lot of fiber all of a sudden can cause bloating and gas, along with other side effects. Encourage older adults to build up fiber intake over a number of days, while making certain to drink an adequate amount of water as well, which will help cut down on unwanted symptoms.
The following high-fiber foods are a great place to begin. Remember that ideally, adults should be including 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed every day, which equates to roughly 24 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
- Apples (4.4 grams in one single raw, average-sized apple)
- Raspberries (6.5 grams per cup)
- Pears (5.5 grams in one single raw, medium-sized pear)
- Strawberries (3 grams per cup)
- Avocado (10 grams per cup)
- Bananas (3.1 grams in one medium-sized banana)
- Carrots (3.6 grams per cup)
- Broccoli (2.4 grams per cup)
- Beets (3.8 grams per cup)
- Brussels sprouts (3.3 grams per cup)
- Artichoke (6.9 grams in a single raw globe)
- Kidney beans (12.2 grams per cup, cooked)
- Lentils (13.1 grams per cup, cooked)
- Chickpeas (12.5 grams per cup, cooked)
- Split peas (16.3 grams per cup, cooked)
- Oats (16.5 grams per cup, raw)
- Popcorn (1.15 grams per cup, popped)
- Quinoa (5.2 grams per cup, cooked)
- Almonds (4 grams per 3 tablespoons)
- Sweet potatoes (3.8 grams per medium-sized boiled potato without skin)
- Dark chocolate (3.1 grams per 1-ounce piece)
With a multitude of options to satisfy each older adult’s particular preferences, it’s easy to add more fiber into the diet and improve senior health.
At Inspired Home Care, we know how a well-balanced diet for seniors helps safeguard overall health and wellness so that older adults can continue to live active and engaged lives. Our highly-trained Barrington caregiver team is here to help encourage healthy eating and snacking habits for older adults and provide companionship during meals, and any other time, day or night. Our care team will also grocery shop, plan and prepare nourishing meals and snacks that are customized to specific dietary needs or restrictions, and even clean up the kitchen afterwards.
To discover information about the various ways Inspired Home Care’s Barrington caregiver team can help a senior you love maintain healthy eating habits and more, email or call us at 847-787-7572 for more information and to schedule a free in-home consultation today. Visit our Locations Served page for a full list of the communities where we provide our award-winning care.