The health of the gut plays a major role in determining a person’s overall health and wellbeing, and people should have a diverse array of beneficial bacteria living in the digestive tract. These organisms assist with food digestion, nutrient absorption, immune system functioning and even have an impact on various aspects of mental health. Unfortunately, many medications, environmental toxins and lifestyle habits can have a detrimental impact on friendly gut bacteria. The good news is there are a number of foods that seniors can eat to replenish their stores of these organisms. When providing home care, Las Vegas family caregivers should consider adding the following to his or her diet.
Getting essential dietary fats from natural, healthy sources is one of the best things that seniors can do to protect and boost their stores of beneficial bacteria. Coconut oil and olive oil can be used for cooking in place of animal fats, and avocados, almonds, olives and fatty fish are also great sources of fat for seniors. Unhealthy fats, particularly trans fats, actually increase the number of harmful bacteria living in the gut.
High-quality Greek yogurt is a potent probiotic that will deliver considerable amounts of protein and calcium and jump-start sluggish metabolisms. In addition to adding more beneficial bacteria to the digestive tract, a good yogurt will also supply complex carbohydrates in the form of oligosaccharides that nourish the microorganisms living in the gut.
Kimchi is a spicy, fermented cabbage dish that has long been a staple in Korea. It serves as a powerful tonic for the intestines and is particularly beneficial for those with leaky gut syndrome. It will expedite the digestive process, soften the stool and restore beneficial organisms.
It is good for seniors to have an occasional sweet treat, and when they do, dark chocolate is the best option. Beneficial bacteria in the gut eat the chocolate and turn it into anti-inflammatory compounds that boost heart health. A small square or two of organic chocolate with 70 percent cacao provides optimal benefits.
Bananas are a wonderful dietary addition for seniors given that these fruits are nutrient-dense and have few calories. They also help restore a diverse array of beneficial bacteria in the gut that will aid digestion, promote improved nutrient absorption and create higher levels of energy. Dipping sliced bananas into melted dark chocolate and then freezing them is a great way to create a gut-healthy summertime treat for seniors.
To learn more about senior health or find an hourly caregiver in Las Vegas who can grocery shop and prepare healthy meals for your loved one, reach out to Home Care Assistance. In addition to cooking, our experienced caregivers can help with light housework, transportation, and physical activity among other things. Call us today at (702) 550-3185 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.