The Mediterranean Diet: A Delicious Path to Heart Health and Longevity

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended diet plans for adults and seniors as it promotes good overall health and reduces one’s risks of chronic illnesses. Not only that, studies revealed that the Mediterranean diet can also be a good memory help for seniors who are experiencing cognitive decline.

You might be wondering why it is called “Mediterranean” and why you should choose this kind of diet. To answer that question, I will be discussing the definition of the Mediterranean diet, its amazing benefits, as well as ideas on how to prepare this kind of diet. Interested? Read on to learn more!

What is Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet is first coined by Physiologist Ancel Keys and his wife Margeret Keys. After conducting various studies about diet and nutrition in the Western and Mediterranean regions, they discovered that the traditional diet in Mediterranean countries contributes to the long lifespan of the people there.

This discovery made the world realize the importance of a healthy diet in promoting life longevity and avoiding chronic illnesses. In fact, in 1959, Ancel and Margaret were able to write their book, “Eat Well, Stay Well” which contains essential information about practicing a healthy diet, or known as the Mediterranean diet.

What are the Benefits of the Diet?

The Mediterranean diet offers a ton of benefits to your overall health such as the following:

How to Prepare Mediterranean Diet?

Now that you know where the Mediterranean diet came from and why it is beneficial for one’s health, let’s now put our focus on how to apply this knowledge in preparing a Mediterranean diet.

Foods You Should Choose

Let’s first discuss the foods that you should choose in preparing your Mediterranean diet. For starters, the diet should be composed of:

  1. Vegetables - Include a variety of vegetables in your diet such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc.
  2. Fruits - You can choose from a variety of nutrient-rich fruits like melon, banana, berries, dates, grapes, peaches, etc.
  3. Legumes - This food variety includes lentils, peanuts, peas, or beans.
  4. Herbs and spices - This can be good as tea or as add-ons to your meals such as cinnamon, mint, basil, sage, garlic, or pepper.
  5. Whole grains - These include, wheat, oats, pasta, corn, or rice(preferably brown).
  6. Nuts - Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, and cashews are just a few examples of nutrient/vitamin-rich nuts.
  7. Poultry - This includes chicken or turkey meat and eggs (e.g., quail, chicken, or duck eggs).
  8. Healthy fats - Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil and avocado oil.
  9. Dairy products- Though this should be eaten in small amounts, dairy products like milk, cheese, or yogurt are good choices for a Mediterranean diet.

Foods You Should Avoid

Foods that must be eaten only in small amounts include:

  1. Foods rich in sugar - Limit foods that are high in refined sugar such as candies, ice cream, cake, and sweetened bread.
  2. Foods rich in trans fats - Trans fats contain triglycerides and low-density lipoproteins which are considered bad for your body, that’s why you should avoid foods high in trans fats like junk, processed, and fried foods.
  3. Processed foods - You should also limit your intake of processed foods like canned meat loaves, hot dogs, and sausages as these contain preservatives that may harm your health.
  4. Refined oils - Examples of these include palm, canola, soybean, and grapeseed oil.

Recommended Drinks/Beverages

In terms of beverages, experts recommend opting for water as your primary beverage in every meal. Fortunately, you can also opt for other drinks so long as it’s taken in moderation and is low in sugar.

Mediterranean Meal Plan Example

To help you better understand what the Mediterranean diet consists of, below is an example of a Mediterranean meal plan that you can adopt.

Breakfast

For breakfast, you can choose meals that include yogurt, oatmeal, milk, eggs, berries, vegetables, and fruits. Refer to the sample breakfast meal plan below.

Lunch

For lunch, choose a full meal that consists of rice, pasta, or salad along with lots of vegetables and fruits. Below is an example of a lunch meal plan.

Dinner

Preferrable foods for dinner include fish, poultry, pasta, vegetables, and fruits. Refer to the sample dinner meal plan below.

Note: To make your Mediterranean meal plan unique, you can just tweak the samples above or apply other favorite Mediterranean-style dishes on your list.

Other Valuable Tips To Keep In Mind

Before we jump to our conclusion, here is a list of additional tips that might be useful in your journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Takeaway

Supported by numerous studies, the Mediterranean diet offers a ton of benefits to your health, especially in the heart, bone, and heart. That’s why If you want to make a positive change in your lifestyle, it’s time to shift your diet to the Mediterranean way.

Food and Diet Plan for Seniors: Nourishing Your Way to Wellness

As we get older, our body demands more nutrients and vitamins. Fortunately, opting for healthy foods can help compensate for the body’s nutrient needs. That’s where a good diet plan comes at the top priority.

Planning your meals can be quite frustrating considering there are a lot of options to choose from and many factors to consider. To help prevent that from happening, I will share some valuable tips to make your meal planning easier and simpler to prepare.

What Foods To Focus On In Your Senior Years

As we get older, our risk of getting diseases increases. That’s why it's crucial to include foods that are loaded with nutrients in our daily meals. Some of the best food options for your meal plan include:

Protein-rich foods

Seniors are more prone to falls and fractures because of muscle loss and weakened bones. Protein is considered the building blocks of life and it helps in the production of cells. This means that it will help improve strength and regain muscle mass among seniors. Examples of these foods are:

Fruits and vegetables

When we were little, doctors and parents always said that we should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to grow strong and healthy. But just like children, seniors also need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Known for being loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fibers, these foods will help keep your body healthy and strong against diseases. Regular consumption of these foods can even lower your risk of getting chronic illnesses.

Some of the best fruit and vegetable choices include:

Probiotics

Also known as the “good bacteria”. Probiotics help in the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body. Listed below are just some of the best sources of probiotics.

Dietary fats

Not all fats are considered bad for your body, in fact, there are 2 types of fats that are good. These are called monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, which are good sources of energy. Healthy fats can be found in:

Daily Eating Recommendations for Seniors

In planning your meals, make sure to include all necessary foods from different food groups. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), a healthy daily diet for seniors should include:

  1. Fruits - 2 to 5 servings per day
  2. Vegetables - 2 to 2 ½ cups per day
  3. Protein - 65 grams per day
  4. Sodium - Maximum of 1500 mg per day
  5. Calcium - Maximum of 1200 mg per day
  6. Whole Grains - 6 to 7 oz. per day

Note: If you want to make sure that you’re eating just right, you can use USDA’s MyPlate tool to help you plan your meals with the right amount of foods from different food groups.

What To Consider Before Planning Your Meal

Before starting your meal plan for your or your elderly loved one, here are some things you should consider first:

Tips on Meal Planning for Seniors

To help you start your meal planning, here are several valuable tips you should keep in mind:

Take Aways

Meal planning is an important step to practicing a healthy lifestyle, especially for us seniors. This is because our bodies need an extra amount of nutrients to keep bones, muscles, skin, and the immune system strong and healthy.

What Are The Building Blocks of Proteins: From Sequence to Structure

What are the building blocks of proteins? This may be a question that comes to mind when we think about protein composition. We’ve already encountered the word protein so many times in grade school and fitness clinics, and its no doubt that protein is needed by our body. Without it, our bodies will not function properly.

Though most of us know that proteins are indeed essential to our body, many still wonder how it's produced by our body aside from getting them from the food that we eat. In this article, we will share useful information about protein, its importance as well as its composition.

What are Proteins?

Proteins are considered the building blocks of life because of their crucial role in maintaining various processes in our body. This macromolecule is present in almost every part of us including bones, muscles, hormones, enzymes, and the bloodstream, without it, our body will not be able to function properly.

Proteins are very complex, to say the least. Each protein is composed of several different compounds depending on what body function it will support. One of the primary function of proteins in our body is that it supports making new cells, repairing tissues, and producing hormones in the body.

Importance of Proteins to Our Body

Being the building blocks of life, protein is an important part of maintaining a healthy body. Protein plays a vital role in many different processes, but listed below are the most common processes:

Helps in the production of cells

We are basically made out of cells, and protein plays a vital role in cell growth and production. A good example of this would be cell membranes which are made of protein and help in the binding and interaction of cells.

Regulates hormones

Most enzymes and hormones are made of proteins. Without these compounds, our bodies will not be able to do various physiological processes like cell production and oxygen transmission in the bloodstream.

For example, enzymes like lactase are responsible for the breakdown of dairy products that we consume and distribute throughout our bodies. However, a lack of these enzymes will result in lactose intolerance.

Repairs damaged tissues

Protein also plays a vital role in repairing damaged tissues in the body. This works by promoting the growth and production of certain hormones to support cell regeneration in the damaged tissues.

Helps in digestion and absorption

Our body absorbs nutrients from the food that we eat and distributes these nutrients through different parts of the body. Part of the protein we consume goes to making enzymes and hormones for various functions in the body.

Carries oxygen throughout the bloodstream

Cells in our blood contain a certain protein that helps in distributing oxygen across the body.

Supports overall fitness and health

Proteins from the food that we eat are also used by the body as a source of energy. Additionally, protein is known to help increase muscle density, prevent muscle loss, and help maintain a healthy weight, which works well for fitness enthusiasts. That’s why you would notice most bodybuilders take in protein supplements to support muscle density.

What are the Building Blocks of Protein?

Protein is considered a macromolecule. This means that it is composed of molecules that make up its structure. The molecules that make up a protein are called amino acids, which are considered the building blocks of protein.

Generally, there are various types of amino acids in our body, and 20 of them are found in proteins. To make up a certain protein, different types of amino acids are linked together to form some kind of chain. This chaining process will then lead to the final shape or structure of the protein.

To give you an overview, amino acids consist of a central carbon atom, paired with an amino group, a carboxyl group, and a hydrogen atom. There are different types of amino acids found in our body, and we will discuss them in the next part of this article.

Types of Amino Acids

There are three types of amino acids. Below are the following:

Conditional Amino Acids

These types of amino acids only become essential during times of stress, injuries, surgery, or illness. Examples of these amino acids are:

  • Cysteine
  • Arginine
  • Glutamine
  • Tyrosine
  • Glycine
  • Ornithine
  • Proline
  • Serine

Non-Essential Amino Acids

This type of amino acid can be naturally produced by our body and is needed for normal growth and health. Examples of non-essential amino acids are:

  • Alanine
  • Arginine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic acid
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamic acid
  • Glutamine
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Serine
  • Tyrosine

Essential Amino Acids

Unlike non-essential amino acids, this type of amino acid cannot be produced by our body. Instead, it is acquired from the food that we eat. That’s why it’s important to include lots of protein in your diet. There are typically nine essential amino acids which include:

  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
Foods to Look Out For

When we say protein, the first thing we can think of could be poultry, fish, eggs, and other dairy products. Though these are indeed good sources of protein, did you know that there are also various plant-based foods where you can get the most protein? This is good news for vegetarians and for people who want to promote frugality.

Below are examples of plant-based foods that are high in protein content:

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickle relish
  • Acorns
  • Hummus
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Nuts
  • Millet
  • Cranberries
  • Apricot

Final Word

Proteins are one of the most essential compounds found in our bodies. Our bones, skin, muscles,  and hair have different kinds of protein present, and each kind of protein performs a role in maintaining and processing physiological functions.

Folic Acid Dosage for Seniors: Improving Health and Wellness through Proper Supplementation

Folic acid has been known for its many benefits for young and old alike. It is considered one of the essential vitamins needed by our body to maintain good cell production and metabolism. However, Folic acid is not naturally produced by our body, instead, we get it through the food that we eat.

That’s the reason why about 40 percent of the population in the US is deficient in folic acid.

As for seniors, getting enough dosage of folic acid benefits one's brain function and blood health. Learn more about folic acid, its benefits, dosage, and side effects through this article.

What is Folic Acid?

Folic acid, also known as folate, or folacin, is a type of vitamin B that plays a vital role in metabolism, cell production, and cell growth. Though folate and folic acid share the same effects and function, there is a specific difference between the two.

While folate is a naturally occurring vitamin usually found in certain foods, folic acid is the man-made version of this vitamin which is used in making dietary supplements. Despite the difference, folate and folic acid still share common benefits.

Benefits of Folic Acid to Seniors

Folic acid is crucial in children’s growth, but studies also found that this vitamin offers many benefits to seniors. The following are the benefits that seniors can reap from folic acid.

Note: Taking folic acid offers a lot of benefits, however, seniors and caregivers should take note that too much intake of folic acid may cause side effects specifically for seniors who have vitamin B12 deficiency. It’s crucial to talk to your doctor first before you start taking folic acid supplements.

How Much Folic Acid Should Seniors Take?

Folic acid is not naturally produced by the body and considering that seniors absorb vitamins and nutrients less effectively, taking folic acid supplements helps seniors get enough folic acid needed for certain bodily functions.

Adults generally require about 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. As for seniors, it is crucial to meet this daily dosage since their bodies can no longer produce much energy like when they were younger. Folic acid can be taken through a folic acid-rich diet or through dietary supplements.

Which Foods are Rich Sources of Folic Acid?

Since folate or folic acid cannot be naturally produced by our bodies, opting for foods that are rich in this vitamin is a significant step in meeting the recommended daily dose of folic acid. Listed below are foods that are high sources of folic acid.

  1. Dark green, leafy vegetables like lettuce, spinach, broccoli, etc.
  2. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, or lime
  3. Beans, peas, and legumes
  4. Poultry, pork, eggs, and shellfish
  5. Wheat, seeds, and yeast
  6. Chicken or pork liver and kidneys
  7. Mushroom and asparagus 
  8. Fortified cereals, bread, and juices
Risks and Side Effects of Taking Folic Acid

Taking folic acid is generally safe and reports of patients who experienced severe side effects are very rare. Allergic reactions related to folic acid intake include the following:

In rare cases, folic acid can cause allergic reactions such as:

Also, seniors should also take note that the effectiveness of other medications taken may be influenced by folic acid. Some drugs that can interact with folic acid are the following:

Note: Talk to your doctor if you experience the side effects mentioned above or if you have current medications that may interact with folic acid.

Final Word

Folic acid offers a lot of benefits to people of any age. It plays a vital factor in cell growth and metabolism in younger individuals and reduces the risk of certain diseases among seniors. Although folic acid or folate cannot be produced by our bodies, we can get it through the food that we eat and through taking folic acid supplements. Maintaining good levels of this vitamin is essential, especially for seniors considering that their bodies cannot absorb all the nutrients it needs like they used to.

Foods to Boost Immune System: 10 Immune-Boosting Foods You Should Include in Your Diet

Foods to boost the immune system are vital to keeping you from getting various illnesses and infections. Our immune system is a natural part of our body composed of a network of various cells, organs, and proteins responsible for keeping the body safe from different infections caused by bacteria and microbes.

A weak immune system means a higher risk of getting various illnesses. Unfortunately, as we age, our immune system tends to be weaker due to developmental decline. That’s why in this article, I will share various foods that will help keep your immune system strong even with old age.

How the Immune System Works

We are born with an innate immune system, and this immune system continues to develop as we grow. This is because every time our body gets exposed to different types of microbes, a part of our immune system which is the B-Lymphocytes and T-Lymphocytes keeps a record of the attacker so that when the type of bacteria strikes again, the immune system will be able to produce antibodies that will kill the attacker.

Importance of Having a Healthy Immune System

A healthy immune system is important because it keeps our body healthy and free from any diseases. Without our immune system, we become vulnerable even to a common flu virus.

Sadly, seniors commonly experience weakened immune systems. That's why eating healthy foods such as citrus fruits, vegetables, grains, or seeds is crucial to keep the immune system at its peak. To help you improve your immune system, here are 10 foods that you might want to include in your diet.

10 Foods to Boost Seniors’ Immune System

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits like orange, lemon, lime, and tangerine are just a few citrus fruits that are rich in Vitamin C.

Vitamin C primarily helps in the body’s production of white blood cells which are responsible for fighting bacterial infections. That’s the reason why most people opt for citrus juice drinks in curing common colds and coughs.

A daily dose of vitamin C from citrus fruits is also beneficial as vitamin C is not naturally produced by our bodies.

Yogurt

Adding yogurt to your diet is highly recommended by nutritionists to promote a strong body. This is because yogurt is a high source of vitamin D which is proven to regulate the immune system’s function.

In a recent study, it was mentioned that yogurt is beneficial to enhance the immune system even in immunocompromised people such as the elderly.

In buying yogurt, look for plain yogurts instead of flavored ones, preferably Greek yogurt. This is because flavored yogurts tend to have too much sugar which might not be good for your health. To get the best out of yogurts, try mixing them with strawberries, blueberries, and honey to make them more deliciously healthy.

Broccoli

Of all green leafy vegetables, broccoli is a top choice if you aim to help boost your immune system. It consists of an abundant amount of vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, and E all proven to enhance the immune system.

According to studies, broccoli also contains high levels of fiber and antioxidants which contribute to your overall health.

Spinach

During our childhood, we all know what miracles spinach can do. And we are all familiar with one of our favorite cartoon characters, Popeye.

It’s not only packed with high amounts of vitamin C, but it is also rich in other vitamins and nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin K, iron, potassium, and folate, which not only improves your immune system but also your overall health.

Green Tea

Surprisingly, green tea is one of the great sources of nutrients needed to boost the immune system.

Primarily it is abundant in a compound called Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which is a potent antioxidant preventing free radicals and cell damage. Not only that, but green tea also contains L-theanine, which helps your T-Cells in producing antibodies.

Black tea can also be a good substitute for green tea, however, due to the fermentation process it undergoes, it might contain fewer antioxidants compared to green tea.

Ginger

Ginger, though unpleasant to the taste, is a great remedy for coughs, colds, fever, and sore throat. In fact, many food manufacturers use ginger to produce candies or lozenges that help cure sore throats.

Though it might contain fewer nutrients compared to others on the list, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties to help prevent various illnesses. It is said to cure nausea as well.

Almonds

Almonds are known to contain large amounts of vitamin E which mainly contributes to a healthy immune system.

This favorite nut is also packed with healthy fats that promote healthy body fat composition. The vitamin can easily be absorbed by the body since it’s fat-soluble, which means that it only requires the presence of fats in your body.

Whether you like eating it raw, with other nuts, or with chocolates, Almonds are a healthy and enjoyable snack for the young and old.

Papaya

This is another fruit that contains tons of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Just like citrus fruits, papaya is very abundant in vitamin C. It is even beneficial to your digestive system as it contains an enzyme called “papain” which is an anti-inflammatory substance. This is supported by a recent study published in the National Library of Medicine.

Not only that, but papaya is also rich in nutrients like folate, potassium, and magnesium, which can help in the production of red blood cells, as well as improve bones, muscles, and skin.

Kiwi

Just like papaya, Kiwi is another fruit that is abundant in various nutrients namely, vitamins C, E, and K, as well as protein, potassium, and folate. Since it’s rich in vitamins C and E, it can enhance the immune system against colds, flu, cough, fever, and other more severe diseases.

What’s good about kiwi is that it is delicious and a great add-on to your yogurt, cereal, oats, and shakes. So if you want to keep your immune system fortified and strong, try adding a slice of two of kiwi to your daily yogurt or breakfast cereal.

Blueberries

To complete the list, I included another people’s fave which is blueberries. Just like other nutrient-rich fruits, blueberries are also a good source of vitamins C, E, and K. It even contains minerals such as manganese, potassium, and fiber.

Aside from Kiwis, you can also add blueberries to your fruit salad, yogurt, shake, or cereal. You can even make a jam out of it for better taste and easier consumption.

Final Thoughts

Our Immune system is one of the most important systems in our body as it acts as the primary defense against various illnesses. Without it, we become vulnerable to sickness. That’s why it’s important to keep our immune systems fortified and strong especially for seniors since they have weaker immune systems than younger ones.

Seniors Nutrition: Building a Balanced Diet for Vitality and Longevity

Nutrition refers to the process of getting the necessary nutrients for the body through eating a well-balanced diet. Maintaining good nutrition plays a significant role in keeping the body healthy, however, seniors’ nutrition can be a bit more challenging to maintain than younger people’s.

This is due to different bodily changes we experience when we reach our senior years such as changes in appetite, caloric demands, medications, and lifestyle. That’s why it’s crucial to practice healthy eating habits, especially for senior citizens.

Importance of Good Nutrition Among Seniors

Maintaining good nutrition should always be a priority for both the young and the old as it offers a ton of benefits to your overall health. To be more specific, listed below is what makes good nutrition important for everyone.

Factors That Affect Nutrition among Seniors

Some of the factors that affect the nutrition of seniors are:

Calorie intake

Older adults tend to gain weight more easily compared to younger people. This is because, since we get less physically active when we get older, we tend to burn fewer calories which makes it difficult to lose weight.

Slower metabolism also plays a factor in this matter. Since older adults have a slow metabolism, it makes it harder for their bodies to burn excess calories. Thus, it’s crucial to cut off calories from one’s diet during senior years.

Appetite

As we get older, the more likely we lose our appetite. This is because as we age, our ability to taste also gradually diminishes. Loss of appetite in seniors implies poor absorption of essential nutrients. If not addressed, this will then result in poor nutrition.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle and major events in life can also play a factor in one’s nutrition. Whether it’s a death of a loved one, separation from family members or other major events can affect your mental and emotional health. Thus, it will also affect your eating patterns and even cause a loss of appetite.

Medications

Some medications can affect your diet. In some cases, you may need to avoid certain foods to make sure the medicine properly functions. Talk to your doctor if there are needed changes in your diet when taking certain medications, and what alternatives can be eaten to maintain good nutrition.

Medical conditions

We all know that as we age, we become more at risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, or stroke. To slow its progress, your doctor may advise some changes in your diet. This includes cutting off cholesterol-rich and calorie-rich foods.

Immune system

One of the reasons why seniors are more susceptible to various illnesses is due to their weakened immune systems. Doctors may advise cutting off certain foods that may cause allergic reactions or poisoning to your body.

Oral Health

Whether it's tooth loss, gum disease, or tooth decay, there’s no doubt these conditions affect your appetite and your ability to eat certain foods. For example, seniors suffering from tooth loss may lose their ability to chew hard foods like meat or dry foods. This will then reduce the nutrients the body can receive. If not addressed, this may lead to poor nutrition.

Income

Seniors who live in low-income households may not be able to eat enough meals. According to a recent study published in BMC public health, the researchers stated that low income and poor nutrition are somehow linked to each other.

Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

The crucial and most effective way to maintain good nutrition among seniors is to have a well-balanced diet. However, you should know that the ideal diet for seniors can be quite different from those of younger people. To help you establish healthy eating for seniors, here are some tips you should know:

Always look for nutrient-rich foods

Since seniors are more prone to diseases and appetite loss, it’s important to always opt for foods that are rich in nutrients like fruits, vegetables, and white meat. If you have tooth loss, you can cook recipes with sauces. Soup recipes are also a good option to soften the texture of your meals.

Include fibers in your diet

Fiber-rich foods offer a lot of benefits to one’s nutrition. Not only does it help clean your digestive tract, but it also helps control calorie intake keeping cholesterol levels and obesity at bay.

Take nutritional supplements

It was previously mentioned that some medical conditions may require you to change your diet. Unfortunately, this may affect the number of nutrients you consume. A solution? Taking nutritional supplements might help you with that.

For seniors, supplements consisting of vitamin B complex, vitamin D, magnesium, or calcium can be a good choice. If you encounter a multivitamin, check its contents if it's what you’re looking for.

Note: If you do decide to take a supplement or vitamin, it’s important to check with your doctor first if it will not interfere with the current medication you are taking.

Keep yourself hydrated

Water is another essential mineral needed by our body. Drinking an adequate amount of water every day will contribute to improved health and nutrition. Drinking plenty of fluids will cleanse your urinary tract as well.

Always check the nutritional info

Nutritional information or also termed nutrition facts refers to the table that can be found behind any package of food. When shopping for frozen, canned, or packed foods, it’s important to check their nutritional information to monitor the number of nutrients as well as calories and fats that you consume. In this way, you can cut off the foods that you think aren’t healthy for you.

Follow the ideal food serving for the elderly

For a start, try basing the food you eat each day on the classic food pyramid we have known since we were kids. If you’re not sure of the ideal food serving for you, you can base your meal plan on USDA’s MyPlate or take the quiz for a personalized diet for you.

Allot an adequate budget for food

As they say, health and good nutrition are one’s real wealth. It’s important to allot a nice budget for healthy foods, however, not all people are capable of it, especially low-income households and communities. Fortunately, there's a government program known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program).

Final Thoughts

Good nutrition is crucial to both young and old people. Not only does it keeps your body healthy and properly functioning, but it also reduces your risk of getting various illnesses. However, seniors should prioritize more on maintaining good nutrition since they are more susceptible to chronic illnesses.

Memory Help for Seniors - 8 Efficient Tips for Boosting Brain Function

As we age, a lot of changes occur in our system. One of the organs affected by these changes is our brain. Forgetfulness and memory loss are just some of the issues older adults face.

Though this may be an inevitable event, there are still ways to improve one’s memory and brain function. In this article, I will be sharing some valuable tips along with some essential information that can help you understand forgetfulness and memory loss.

When is Forgetfulness Not Normal?

People tend to become forgetful when they get older. For example, your grandfather might forget where he placed his car keys or glasses once in a while. This event is pretty normal and not a cause for concern.

However, if you notice an elderly forgetting major details in a way that affects his/her daily life, then it might be time to call for medical attention. Forgetfulness is considered not normal if s/he:

Common Causes of Forgetfulness or Memory Loss?

Forgetfulness and memory loss are normal signs of aging, but they can also be early signs of Alzheimer’s or other types of Dementia. If you notice you are getting forgetful but doesn’t affect your quality of living, then there’s nothing to worry about. Some causes of forgetfulness and memory loss can be due to:

  1. Age
  2. Medical conditions
  3. Mild cognitive impairment
  4. Emotional health issues

If you want to ensure you’re not suffering from any brain diseases, then talking to a doctor is not a bad choice. In fact, it can help you catch the disease at the earliest possible.

8 Efficient Tips for Boosting Brain Function

To improve your brain function and decrease the possibility of memory loss and other cognitive impairments, then following the tips listed below can be helpful.

Get Regular Checkups

Several causes of forgetfulness and cognitive decline are other underlying medical conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to see a healthcare professional regularly to catch early signs of diseases that might be causing memory loss. Several examples of underlying conditions are:

In some cases, forgetfulness is caused by the current medications that you are taking. Muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, sleeping medications, allergy medications, and statins are just a few examples.

Keep Up A Healthy Diet

A healthy diet doesn’t just contribute to physical health, but it also offers a lot of benefits to your mental health. One of the best meal plans for a healthy brain is a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet consists of many varieties of fruits and vegetables which are good sources of vitamins and minerals.

This kind of diet also involves a little red meat and more protein-rich meats like fish and chicken. A study even revealed that people who continuously followed this diet are 20% less likely to get memory loss problems.

Get Enough Sleep

Our body, including the brain, does a lot of processes when we are asleep. Not getting enough sleep will not allow the brain to do these processes properly contributing to memory loss.

One way to avoid this is to get quality sleep at night. However, others experience difficulty sleeping at night, especially older adults. Fortunately, there are several practices you can do to improve sleep habits and avoid sleep problems.

These practices include:

Keep Yourself Physically Active

Regular exercise and other physical activities are proven to improve not just heart health, but also brain function. Exercises that improve cardiovascular health are linked to better brain health. This is because as the heart rate increases during physical activities, more oxygen is pumped to your brain.

The continuous habit of exercising will then maintain healthy cognition and avoid memory loss problems.

Learn New Skills

To be able for the brain to maintain its proper function, it should always be used and challenged from time to time. Though mental stimulations are helpful in this aspect, you can also learn new skills that will challenge you, thus sharpening your brain even more. Some brain challenges include:

Avoid Stress

One of the factors of memory loss and other cognitive problems is stress. Long-term stress is linked to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, one expert also stated that the higher stress hormones (cortisol) you have, the less likely your brain can retain information from your brain’s memory.

To avoid stress, try to keep yourself busy, avoid too many stress-inducing activities, and engage in hobbies and activities that you enjoy.

Keep Your Social Life Active

Isolating oneself for long periods is not healthy for your brain, and it can increase your risk of cognitive impairments. That’s why keeping up with your colleagues, friends, relatives, and family plays a significant role in keeping your cognitive health at its peak.

You can also join different groups, charity organizations, or clubs that match your interest. In this way, you can meet new people, relate to their lives, and even share laughs with them. Socializing not only improves your cognitive health, but also your social life, and helps avoid stress.

Sharpen Your Brain With Memory Tricks

Aside from engaging in new and challenging activities, you can also do mental exercises to keep your brain functioning. Some examples of memory exercises are:

If you want a little fun, you can also engage in different memory games suitable for seniors:

Take Aways

Cognitive health is one of the most crucial health aspects that we should take care of, and I’m sure nobody wants to experience memory loss and other cognitive health conditions when they get older. I hope this article helped you have an idea of how to deal with memory loss and enhance one’s memory and cognitive health.

Dehydration in the Elderly: Causes, Risks, and Interventions

Dehydration is a loss of enough fluids in the body and not being able to replace them. It can happen to people of any age, but older people are more susceptible to dehydration. This is because as we age, our fluid reserves are not as abundant compared to when we were younger.

Water is a crucial element for our body to do various processes. Not enough of it may result in complications such as constipation and lack of electrolytes. Usually, dehydration happens during or after rigorous activities, workouts, or hot days. This is why drinking plenty of fluids is very crucial to ensure your body is hydrated lest you end up with complications, especially if it's left unaddressed.

Causes and Risk Factors of Dehydration in Elderly People

Senior citizens are more prone to dehydration than younger people.

Body Fluid Decline

Naturally, we have bodily fluids responsible for maintaining enough water reserves. These water reserves are used for quenching thirst when we haven’t drunk enough fluids. Due to age, the amount of fluids in our body begins to decrease making dehydration more prevalent.

Thirst Response Decline

Thirst response refers to your body’s way of making you feel thirsty. This will encourage you to drink lots of fluids when your body needs them. However, as we begin to age, this body’s function also declines. This is why most seniors are not able to drink enough water because they don’t know when they are thirsty.

Decrease In Proper Kidney Function

Your kidneys’ function is affected as you reach old age, thus urination will become more frequent. This means that more fluids are being released than stored by the body.

Certain Medications

Medications can also be the cause of dehydration in seniors. This is because certain drugs can cause increased urination. Medications such as diuretics for type 2 diabetes are just a few examples.

Diarrhea / Vomiting

Diarrhea or vomiting is one major contributor to dehydration. This is due to the loss of electrolytes, minerals, and body fluids of the body. Persistent cases of this condition without treatment might even result in severe dehydration.

Excessive Sweating

Excessive sweating can happen during or after rigorous activities like exercising, hiking, and working out. This means that more fluids are released by your body. Drinking plenty of water during rigorous activities is crucial to replace the lost fluids in your body.

Fever

Having a fever is known to cause dehydration. The more severe the fever is, the more fluids are lost in your body. Whatever the cause of your dehydration, the best way to treat and prevent it is to drink plenty of water daily preferably 6 - 8 glasses each day.

Symptoms of Dehydration in Elderly People

Whether it’s hot weather, a rigorous workout, fever, or other factors, dehydration can happen to anyone and most commonly to seniors. If you notice yourself or someone experiencing the following symptoms, it might be an evident sign of dehydration.

It’s important to address dehydration as early as possible before it leads to more severe conditions like:

  1. Fainting
  2. Disorientation
  3. Mobility problems
  4. Rapid heart rate
  5. Persistent diarrhea and vomiting for more than 24 hours
Complications

Dehydration is not just a simple condition that goes away without doing anything. Neglect of the symptoms of dehydration may lead to complications like:

Treatments

I’m sure you know that staying hydrated is one of the crucial practices to keep your body functioning. Treatments for dehydration can be done in the comforts of your home and without spending too much. This includes:

Replacing The Fluids That Your Body Lost

For mild to moderate cases of dehydration, drinking plenty of water and other fluids is necessary to replace the lost bodily fluids. For caregivers, you can give juice drinks or broth soup to your elderly if they are not comfortable drinking water.

Electrolyte-Rich Drinks

Electrolyte drinks can come in cans or bottles and are usually manufactured for athletes and sports enthusiasts. These drinks are a good substitute for water since it contains minerals like sodium, potassium, and fructose, all essential in rehydrating your body. You can buy them at your nearest supermarket or grocery store.

Hospitalization (For Severe Cases)

Dehydration is severe enough to necessitate rapid medical intervention. In this case, doctors will administer electrolyte and fluid medications intravenously.

Prevention

Preventing dehydration is far better than getting treated. Not only that you’ll be spending money quite a bit, but you’ll also be hassled with scheduled hospital visits. The following are some tips you might want to consider to prevent dehydration:

Drink Enough Water

Of course one of the most effective and basic ways to keep dehydration at bay is to drink enough water daily. Preferably, doctors recommend we drink 6-8 glasses daily to keep our bodies well-hydrated.

If it’s hard for you to drink lots of water all at once, you can try to distribute your water intake throughout the day. For example, you can take 2 glasses of water in the morning, and another 2 after 2-3 hours, until you reach the goal at the end of the day.

Drink More Water Than You Normally Do When You’re Ill

As mentioned earlier, fever is one of the causes of dehydration. To address this, you should drink more water than you normally do when you’re not sick. This will help replace the lost electrolytes and keep the body hydrated throughout your recovery.

Plan Your Diet

Another way to give your body some extra fluids is to eat foods that have high water content. Vegetables, fruits, and soup are just a few on the list. You may also try adding yogurt and gelatins to your diet as well.

Improve Your Water To Something More Pleasing

If you’ve been drinking water and begins to bore you, why not improve your water to something more pleasing? You can add fruit extracts to your drink like lemon, lime, or orange with a spoonful of sugar to improve the taste.

Talk To Your Doctor

If you have other underlying health conditions that affect your hydration, it’s important to talk to a doctor about it. S/he may look into your medical background and diet to determine appropriate hydration procedures.

Final Thoughts

Dehydration can happen to people of all ages, but seniors are more at risk of it due to changes and the decline in their bodies. That’s why it’s important to ensure enough fluids in our bodies. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids, especially for active seniors will do the trick. For caregivers, it’s crucial to monitor your elderly’s daily fluid intake and encourage him/her to drink the recommended among of water daily.