Guest Post: Seniors & Super Foods

seniors and aging nutrition infographicThere are many super foods that can help you deal with stress and aging. Stress can crop up in the senior or elder years that you envision to be the most peaceful. Having the right foods in your diet can alleviate tension and stress, along with their negative effects.

Here are some nutrients you need in your stress-fighting plan:

Omega-3s

Salmon

Fatty fish like salmon is a great source of omega-3s, which keep stress hormones like cortisol under control. You should try to have two servings of wild salmon every week.

Flaxseed and Chia Seeds

These seeds give you a great plant source of omega-3 called Alpha-Linolenic (ALA) acid. However, the body can’t completely convert ALA into other omega-3s that are found in animal sources, so if you’re vegan it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about supplements.

Magnesium

This mineral helps to keep depression away, which is good because depression can be linked to other health problems.

Kale and Spinach

Dark leafy green vegetables are a great source of magnesium. Magnesium not only keeps depression away, but can reduce stress because it controls cortisol levels in the body.

Cocoa

A delicious source of magnesium is cocoa. It also contains antioxidants to lower your blood pressure numbers.

Fiber

Fiber isn’t just good for keeping you regular – it has benefits for your mood and mind.

Beans are a great source of fiber, but which is the best for your fiber needs? Navy beans contain approximately 19 grams a cup, while small white beans follow suit with approximately 18 grams. Other beans, such as kidney, pinto, black and lentils also contain good amounts of fiber.

B-Vitamins

Lacking B-vitamins can be harmful to nerves and brain cells, causing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Steel-Cut Oats

Oats are rich in Vitamin B6, which is known as a vitamin that fights stress, so it’s worth starting your day with it.

Avocado

Avocados contain high amounts of B-vitamins you need to keep you feeling calmer.

Sweet Potatoes

Roasted sweet potatoes are comforting food, but they’re also loaded with nutrients, including B-vitamins.

Greek Yogurt

Since it contains pantothenic acid, or Vitamin B5, another B-nutrient that fights stress, Greek yogurt is a healthy snack to have handy when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Eggs

Biotin is a B-vitamin found in eggs and other foods. Deficiencies of it can lead to anxiety.

Zinc

You need this essential nutrient because it helps your body in many ways, such as by boosting your immune system, synthesising protein and maintaining neurological function.

Walnuts

It’s not just walnuts but all nuts that can give you zinc. Pop them in your daily yogurt or smoothie to reap their benefits.

Pumpkin Seeds

In season this time of year, these seeds are high in zinc while also keeping your blood sugar levels constant. This is important to ward off anxiety, shakiness and weakness that can occur if your sugar levels drop.

Vitamin C

An interesting study found that when people who had to undergo the stress of public speaking took Vitamin C in tablet form, their stress effects were lower than those who didn’t take the vitamin beforehand. Top up your Vitamin C intake with foods such as:

Acai Berries

These berries are a great source of Vitamin C, as well as other nutrients. They also have fatty acids that enable better absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

Pomegranate

Just 100 grams of pomegranate will give you almost 20 percent of your daily requirement. An added benefit of Vitamin C-enriched foods is that they help your body fight off infections that can suppress your immune system.

Blueberries

These berries are a rich source of Vitamin C, so they can neutralize toxic free radicals that cause damage to the body.

L-Theanine

This amino acid is found in tea. It can help you gain greater mental awareness while boosting feelings of calm.

Reach for a hot cup of tea when you feel stressed as studies show that it can help to relax the mind without causing drowsiness.

Oils to Ward Off Oxidative Stress

Although not regarded as the normal type of stress, oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between free radicals and the body not being able to fight them off with antioxidants, and this lack of harmony can lead to illnesses, possibly even hypertension.
Both coconut oil and olive oil have been found to reduce oxidative stress in various organs of the body, so they’re worth adding to your meals.

If managing a diet yourself seems overwhelming, consider the aid of a senior care professional So, the next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach for the above calming superfoods and send stress packing.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 7.26.28 AMAbout the Author:

Originally born in Flagstaff, Arizona, Felicity Dryer was raised by her parents (more or less modern-day hippies) to always make her health a top priority. Throughout her life, she has focused on encouraging others to reach for and achieve their personal goals. Now she lives in sunny Los Angeles where she is pursuing her career as a freelance health writer, and continuing to help those seeking encouragement to keep moving forward to achieve their goals. In her free time, she enjoys hosting game nights with her friends, spending her warm days on the shores of California and enjoys watching Saturday morning cartoons.

Elder Home Safety: Throw Away Throw Rugs & Prevent Falls

Home accidents and falls can have devastating physical and mental health ramifications for your Elder. The most simple of modifications can increase home safety exponentially. So read on and consider these points of assessment for the Elder you love.

We usually start by clearing pathways of excess clutter (please dispose of those 7  months worth of newspapers piled in various areas, and you are going to have to put those National Geographics in a box to enjoy later, not in a slippery pile in the hallway.) Ensure all hallways are well-lit as well. Electrical appliance & lamp cords need to be assessed for frays, brittleness and use of proper adapters when needed. Please change those ancient outlets that do not have three prongs so as not to have to use those adapters that do not fit well anyway, also change outlets in that may require GFIs.

Many seniors protest at this next one: remove all throw rugs! I know they match and look just right, but they are like poison to anyone with impaired vision and gait disturbance. Throw rugs can wrinkle and catch toes or walkers. Modify slippery surfaces like the shower stall or bathtub with rubber mats. Is there a shower or bath bench present?  How about bathroom grab bars secured to a stud-not just screwed or nailed into drywall or plaster?  And do NOT use the towel bar as a grab bar!

Cabinets can be modified to lower heights (or just move items to closer shelves only—nothing on those high shelves) to reduce accidents with stepstools [or the forbidden ladder] or reaching and subsequent imbalance. Are there railings at home entrances and on every stairway; should your Elder be using the stairs alone? Can your Elder safely care for their pet? The usual smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? Change the batteries on their birthday. Always consider personal emergency response system. I know I  probably did not include every last area for assessment, but you get the idea.

Bathroom & kitchen and medication safety deserve their own posts so stay tuned….