If the seniors in your life is more inclined to indulge in the numerous junk and fast food choices that are readily available, they are in good company. Even though these foods are convenient, they are frequently high in calories, cholesterol and fat and lack fiber and other essential nutrients that are necessary to nourish aging bodies. In fact, as few as 5% of us are getting enough fiber – something extremely important for seniors.
Reasons Why Fiber Is Important
Fiber’s health benefits include:
- Weight management: Lower in calories and slower to digest, foods that are loaded with fiber help us to feel fuller longer.
- Lowered cholesterol: With fiber in the digestive tract, the body absorbs reduced levels of cholesterol.
- Blood sugar consistency: Because high-fiber foods take longer to be digested, steady blood glucose levels are sustained.
- Better gastrointestinal tract functioning: Fiber in the gastrointestinal tract stimulates the intestines, reducing problems from constipation.
- Decreased cancer risk: Adequate quantities of fiber in the diet help shield against certain kinds of cancer, like colon cancer.
Guidelines on How to Boost Fiber Intake
If an older adult’s diet has been lacking in sufficient quantities of fiber, it’s necessary to add more fiber slowly. Introducing too much fiber all of a sudden may cause bloating, gas, and other adverse effects. Encourage older adults to build up fiber intake slowly, while making sure to drink plenty of water as well, which can help minimize unwanted symptoms.
The following high-fiber foods are a great starting point. Remember that ideally, it is recommended that adults should be including 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed every day, which translates to about 24 grams for women and 38 grams for men.
- Apples (4.4 grams in a single raw, average-sized apple)
- Raspberries (6.5 grams per cup)
- Pears (5.5 grams in one single raw, average-sized pear)
- Strawberries (3 grams per cup)
- Avocado (10 grams per cup)
- Bananas (3.1 grams in one single 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 variety of choices to satisfy each senior’s individual preferences, it is very easy to incorporate more fiber into the diet and enhance older adult health.
At Morning Glory Home Care, providers of home care in Godfrey, IL and the surrounding areas, we know how a well-balanced diet for older adults helps maintain general health and wellness so that seniors can continue to live active and engaged lives. Our highly-trained care team is here to help promote healthy snacking and eating habits for seniors and provide companionship during meals, and any other time, day or night. Our care team can also grocery shop, plan and prepare nourishing meals and snacks that are personalized to specific dietary restrictions or needs, and even clean up the kitchen afterwards.
To learn more about the many ways Morning Glory Home Care’s care team is available to help an older adult you love maintain healthy eating habits and much more, contact us at 618-667-8400 to schedule a free in-home consultation today. For a full list of the communities where we provide care, please visit our Service Area page.