Meeting Nutritional Needs

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Category : Health, News and Information

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Here at Meals On Wheels, we are dedicated not only to feeding hungry seniors, but to maintaining the health and well-being of all of our senior clients. All of our meals are made with the freshest ingredients and take into consideration the nutritional needs of our seniors.
One of the biggest challenges that comes with aging is making sure that you are obtaining all of the necessary nutrients through your daily diet. As we get older, our bodies often times can no longer tolerate the same kinds of foods we used to consume in our youth. Luckily for you, we stumbled upon these great tips to coping with nutritional challenges. Enjoy!

Vivian Huang

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Tips for Coping with Nutritional Challenges in the Elderly

September 2013 | Josip Kucinie

Good nutrition is crucial for any stage of life, and become even more so as we age. Our bodies are not as resilient, and there are greater demands placed on it. By the time we reach our elder years, most of us are grappling with at least a few health problems to boot. But, at this stage of life, eating well becomes a challenge on several fronts. If you are caring for an elderly loved one who has issues in the diet arena, you probably know how frustrating it can be. But, there are some things you can do to help them get the nutrition they need. It will take some experimentation, a willingness to do things differently and some patience.

Dealing with Changes in Taste

Elderly people experience changes in taste for a number of reasons. If food does not really taste good, this will naturally lessen the desire to eat. But, there are some ways you can make things seem more palatable. Foods most likely to be affected are bitter and savory items—many people love to salt them up to bring out the flavor, but this can be a dangerous practice in seniors, most of whom have high blood pressure, or other conditions where excess sodium can lead to problems, such as fluid retention. Salt is far from the only alternative for enhancing flavor—experiment with different herbs and spices. A squirt of fresh lemon juice can do wonders for vegetables.Older people tend to retain their taste of sweets most strongly, which may create a penchant for unhealthy sugary snacks. If you find your loved one leans towards sweet foods more so than others, stock up on plenty of healthy options so that they can get plenty of healthy calories. Medications may also alter taste, so you should talk to the doctor to see if this may have something to do with it, and if there is any way to combat the problem, such as switching medication or adding another one to the mix.

Vision Problems

Surprisingly, eye problems are a common cause of nutritional challenges in the elderly. If they suffer from cataracts, or other conditions that limit their sight, it can affect their desire to eat. We all know how food looks certainly affects the appeal factor. Your loved one with impaired vision may just see a few lumps sitting on a plate, and would rather take a pass. You can work around this issue by putting together meals with colorful elements. For example, you might put together a salad full of colorful vegetables, like bright orange carrots or yellow peppers. Giving the meal a visual pop may pique interest and get her appetite revving.

Ease up on Nutritional Guidelines

Proper nutrition is clearly very important for elderly people. The idea that you should just let them eat whatever they want, so long as they are eating is not a good approach to take. But, with that being said, sometimes it may be wise to ease up, and let them eat something not as healthful if it is the only way to get some calories into them. The key is finding the balance between this approach and making sure they are eating foods that contain the nutrients they require for optimal health. This is where the experimentation comes in. You have to work on finding healthy foods that they find palatable.

Beware the Nutritional Shakes

When it comes to the elderly and eating well, nutritional shakes certainly have their place. But, you have to be careful of becoming overly reliant on them. They are good for boosting caloric intake, in addition to regular food; they are meant as snacks and supplements.  They should not become a regular substitute for meals. If you find yourself in a situation where this seems to be the only way to get your loved one to consume anything, it is time to talk to the doctor.Make Changes GraduallyIf you are trying to incorporate new foods into the diet, or a newly discovered health problem calls for modifications to current eating habits, make the changes gradually. Totally forcing a new diet onto your loved one, especially if you are already dealing with eating challenges, will just make your job much harder. If she was recently diagnosed with diabetes, for example, you will almost certainly need to make changes to her current intake of carbohydrates. If she currently eats white bread on her sandwich every day, start by substituting whole wheat a couple of times a week until she gets used to it. If you want to introduce some healthier carbs for breakfast, such as oatmeal, introduce it into the diet slowly rather than completely forcing it on her every day.

Set an Example of Healthy Eating

If trying to get your loved one to switch to a healthier diet is your primary challenge, you will find it much easier to accomplish this task if you work on setting a good example. Singling your loved one out for a change in diet, while you and your family chow down on less than healthful choices, may increase resistance to change. As much as you can, make the same foods for everyone rather than preparing a different meal for your loved one.

To view the original article, click here: http://www.healthorum.com/2013/09/tips-for-coping-with-nutritional-challenges-in-the-elderly.html

Namaste: Enter The World of Yoga

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Category : Health

Yoga is a mental, spiritual and physical discipline that originated in ancient India. People practiced yoga to seek a permanent state of peace, to alleviate health problems and to reduce stress. Today, the exercise is practiced all around the world by people of all ages. The great thing about yoga is that it is customizable for each individual person, thus making it the perfect exercise for aging individuals. Yoga has also proved to be beneficial in preventing or controlling health problems that come with old age. Check out some these benefits below.bigstock-Portrait-of-two-aged-females-d-15894353

The Benefits Of Yoga For Seniors And The Elderly

Oct. 28, 2013 | Melody Wilding

For older adults battling osteoporosis, arthritis, chronic pain and other ailments, staying strong, healthy, and active can be a challenge.

Enter yoga.

Research shows that a modified yoga practice can be an effective therapy for improving health and wellbeing for seniors and the elderly.

Provides Low-Impact Exercise

The slow, gentle movements involved with yoga are an excellent for helping older adults with limited mobility integrate movement and physical exercise into their lives. Unlike weight training, yoga is low-impact, easy on joints, and has a low risk for injury.

Improved Flexibility

Yoga stretches the body, which can help seniors maintain good range of motion as they age and prevent against fails. In fact there is an old yogic saying that goes ‘the body is as young as the spine is flexible’. Food for thought!

Lowers blood pressure

A recent study found that adults who did yoga 2 to 3 times per week for 6 months experienced a statistically significant drop in blood pressure, demonstrating that yoga could have a positive effect on those with hypertension, especially when used in conjunction with other lifestyle modifications including a healthy diet.

Sleep better

About one-half of all seniors report sleeping problems including insomnia and late-night wakefulness. Researchers at Harvard University have discovered that yoga actually helps people fall asleep more quickly stay asleep throughout the night. Breathing and relaxation techniques that make up the backbone of yoga practice translates in to improved sleep quality.

Pain relief

Overmedication is a widespread problem among the aging population, especially for those who suffer with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. The average senior fills about 14 prescriptions per year. Luckily those battling with chronic pain can turn to yoga for a medication-free way to address aches and find relief. In numerous research studies, patients practicing yoga have seen reductions in joint pain, muscle stiffness and overall physical discomfort. Fluid movement allow swollen joints to glide smoothly over one another which helps promote relief.

To view the original article, click here: http://blog.ecaring.com/benefits-yoga-seniors-elderly/

For some easy yoga exercises, click here: http://blog.ecaring.com/6-easy-yoga-exercises-older-adults/

When practicing yoga, it is important to know and understand your body and its limitations. It is never a good idea to push your body beyond comfort as it could expose you to injury. Yoga can only be effective if practiced properly. 

Vivian Huang

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An Apple A Day Keeps The Doctor Away

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Category : Health, News and Information

Doctor AppleYou’ve probably all heard this saying before: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” But did you know that there is truth behind this age-old adage? Research has recently showed that eating at least 2 servings a week of whole fruit – particularly apples, blueberries or grapes – trims risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 23 percent.

Apples are full of nutrients that make them a wonderful “healing” fruit. Check out the article below to learn what health benefits you could gain from eating apples.

Vivian Huang

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The Fruit That Really Keeps The Doctor Away

Oct. 22, 2013 | Lisa Collier

Crisp, comforting and delicious, apples have remarkable health benefits, fighting everything from dental problems to diabetes, heart disease, at least 8 types of cancer, and possibly even Alzheimer’s.

One of the latest discoveries is that eating at least 2 servings a week of whole fruit—particularly apples, blueberries, or grapes—trims risk for type 2 diabetes by up to 23 percent, compared to people who eat less than one serving per month, according to new data from three long-running studies that include 187,382 participants. The research was published in British Medical Journal. The scientists also report that cutting out three servings of fruit juice and eating whole fruit instead would cut diabetes danger by 7 percent.

Other studies reveal the apple’s long list of impressive health perks, reports Courtenay Smith, executive editor of Reader’s Digest and editor of the bestseller Foods That Harm, Foods That Heal.

In fact, apples may be one of the best healing foods, but also carry a risk you should be aware of. “Because apples are vulnerable to worms and other pests, conventionally grown fruit can be high in pesticides because it’s sprayed several times,” cautions Smith, who recommends either buying organic or washing the fruit thoroughly before eating.

Here are some of the latest findings about this delightful autumn food:

Protection Against Cardiovascular Disease

An apple snack soaked with tangerine juice lowers cardiovascular risk in children, according to researchers at Universitat de València and other centers. The study included 48 obese kids ages 9 to 15 who followed a low-calorie diet for 4 weeks. Eating the apple/tangerine snack improved the kids’ blood pressure, lipid levels and antioxidant defenses, while also reducing inflammatory markers linked to heart risk.

Lower Risk for Stroke

Contrary to the popular belief that the healthiest fruits and veggies are brightly colored, a large Dutch study found that eating white produce (in amounts equal to one medium or large apple) reduces stroke risk by 52 percent, compared to people who eat smaller amounts. Although the researchers looked at a variety of white produce, apples, pears and applesauce were the ones most commonly eaten by the 20,069 participants. There was no link between eating foods of other colors and rates of stroke, according to the study, published in Stroke.

Whiter, Healthier Teeth

“Apples are often called ‘nature’s toothbrushes,’ because they help clean and brighten teeth,” says Smith. “The crisp, abrasive texture stimulates the gums and removes debris from your teeth, while the mildly acidic flavor increases saliva flow to rinse away plaque.” A 2012 study reported that men who ate high-fiber fruits (particularly apples and bananas) were at lower risk for tooth loss and progression of gum disease. The study tracked 625 men for 15 years.

Help You Stay Slim

“Studies out of Washington State and Brazil show that people who eat 3 apples or pears a day lose weight,” Smith reports. “These fruits are low in calories (80 for a medium apple) and loaded with water and fiber, so they fill you up. They’re also digested slowly, so  you feel satisfied longer.”

May Prevent 8 Types of Cancer

A 2011 scientific review reports that people who eat one or more apples daily have significantly lower risk of oral cancer and cancers of the voice box (larynx), breast, esophagus, colon, kidney, prostate and ovary, compared to those who nosh on the fruit less often. The study included more than 6,000 people and this pattern held true even when the participants’ age, calorie intake, diet, smoking, and weight were taken into account.

“In lab studies out of Germany, there’s evidence that when fiber in apples ferments in the colon, it produces cancer fighting compounds,” says Smith. “Other lab studies show that procyanidins—natural compounds found in apple skins—trigger cancer cell death.”

Help Head off a Heart Attack

The same scientific review also reported that women who ate as little as 71 grams of apple daily (about half of a small apple) were 43 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease—the leading killer of Americans—than were women who didn’t eat the fruit at all. A study of elderly men found similar benefits to eating an average of 69 grams of apple daily, versus little or no apple consumption.

May Help Ward off Alzheimer’s

Animal studies suggest that apple juice may have a variety of positive effects on brain health, including reducing age-related memory and cognitive impairment. What’s more, in animals, daily consumption of apple juice appears to protect against brain changes and damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, though it is not yet known if tasty drink has the same effect on the human brain.

View the original article and links to the studies at: http://health.yahoo.net/experts/dayinhealth/superfruit-really-does-keep-doctor-away

Pave Way to a Longer, Happier Life

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Category : Health, Just For Fun

 bigstock-Senior-Couple-Enjoying-Beach-H-13918268Ever wondered how to prolong your life? Or how to reach a lifetime of happiness? Researchers at Harvard University have found the keys to living a longer, happier life – and their findings might just surprise you.

While the age old notions of diet, hygiene and exercise do attribute to a longer lifespan, Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, reveals that the steps to living long and happy are simpler than you would think.

“We used to think that if you had relatives who lived to a ripe old age, that was the best predictor (of a long life),” said Waldinger. But as it turns out, it is the lifestyle choices that people make that determine the quality of life they will live. The 74-year-old study came to find that it is the little things in life that matter the most in the long run:

Love is triumphs over all. One of the major findings of the study indicates that maintaining a healthy, stable marriage will not only better your life, but will also produce longevity. A loving relationship provides support and essentially “buffers you from the effects of pain and disability.” While young couples must learn to cope with one another’s differences, older couples must learn to create a support system for their significant others.

Vacations are your friend. While you were slaving away at your 9-to-5 job, your body is taking the toll of all of your stress build-up. The study considers taking vacations to be a measure of ability to play. It not only serves as a temporary stress reliever, but also creates late-life enjoyment.

Your midlife choices make great impact. The study shows that in your 70s, you are who you were in your 50s. Though the events that occurred earlier in your life are no less significant, it appears that the choices you make in your midlife have a greater impact on your life, moving forward. It is important in this time to make healthy life choices, as well as happy life choices, in order to create a brighter future.

To read the original article on the Study of Adult Development, go to: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/02/decoding-keys-to-a-healthy-life/

Vivian Huang

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Harvesting Fall Flavors

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Category : Food and Recipes, Health, Just For Fun

The leaves are slowly changing colors and the weather is cooling down. You find yourself trading in your shorts and tan lines for scarves and blankets on a chilly night. Let’s face it, summer is over and autumn is finally upon us.

Nothing says fall like harvest time and warm, hearty meals. But as we all know, the comfort foods that we most crave during this time aren’t always the best for our bodies.

Although many of the recipes are delicious, they are also rich in calories and fatty flavors.

None of us wants to substitute taste for good health – and luckily, we don’t have to! Meals On Wheels scoured the Internet and found a couple of great fall recipes that are packed with both flavors and nutrients from Fannetastic Food, a food blog by private practice dietician Anne Mauney. Check them out!

Veggie-tastic Minestrone Soup!

First up, we’ve got Mauney’s Veggie-tastic Minestrone Soup. Mauney introduced this recipe as a part of her Leftovers Made Awesome piece. The great thing about this soup is that you can basically throw anything you want in it and it will still turn out great.

Ingredients:

  • 4 C veggie broth (1 32oz container)
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C water
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 huge handful kale
  • 1 squash (or zucchini), chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 8 basil leaves (optional), chopped
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 3 C leftover whole wheat pasta
  • fresh cracked pepper

Take a big pot (she used 5 quarts) and place it on the stove. Pour in 1 15oz can tomato sauce, an entire container (~4 cups) of veggie broth (she used Nature’s Promise), and 1/2 C of water. Turn heat to medium high.

Chop veggies and add them in. Bring mixture to a simmer. Toss in the chopped fresh basil leaves, 1 can drained and rinsed kidney beans, and 3 cups whole wheat pasta, and top with some cracked pepper. Let mixture warm (you don’t want to overcook the veggies!) and enjoy!

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin Tops

Complete your meal with these pumpkin cranberry muffin tops that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth (and won’t give you a muffin top!).

Ingredients (makes 2 dozen):

Dry:

  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Wet:

  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 C real maple syrup
  • 1/3 C dried cranberries
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. In two separate bowls, mix dry, then wet, and then combine. Spoon onto a cookie sheet (you’ll need 2… or just bake one after another) and pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes. Fork check to see if they are ready.

Vivian Huang

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