KINGSTON, MAR 12, FCR
Dr. Joanne Smith, a lecturer and nutritionist at the Caribbean Institute for Health Research of the University of the West Indies is urging senior citizens and caregivers of the elderly to make an intentional effort to focus on the nutritional health when purchasing or preparing meals.
In a recent exchange with Freedom Come Rain Newspaper, Dr. Smith stated the following:
- Ensure that food is prepared using appropriate food safety methods, that is in hygienic settings and that the food cooked properly.
Dr Smith warns that the elderly should not be served undercooked food.
- Provide a variety of vegetables of a variety of colours and textures (cooked and raw). Half of the plate should be made up of vegetables.
If there are dental issues then vegetables can be steamed and mashed or crushed before consumption or can be made into a smoothie, with no sugar added.
She recommends that households should purchase more of the vegetables when they are less expensive and store them in the freezer. These can be used in soups or smoothies.
- Stay hydrated, consume lots of water, low fat or fat-free milk (or milk alternatives like
almond milk). Juices should be 100% juice and limited to four ounces (4ozs) in one sitting.
- Reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages like syrups, soda and sweet drink mixes.
- Eat a variety of fruits every day, at least two servings. (One medium sized fruit is a serving). Fruits provide vitamins and nutrients for healthy immunity.
The UWI lecturer recommends that eating fruits in season usually cost less than those out of season.
Dr Smith expanded the suggestions for good health of the elderly to include the following:
- Use natural herbs and spices when preparing foods as foods may lose their flavour with aging. Only use these as tolerated.
- Have meals with other persons as this can help with decrease the temptation of over-consumption. “Conversation and good company help to delay eating speed”, she added.
- Meal planning and packaging meals before going out is important to decrease the cost of purchasing meals while away from home.
- Use portion control when plating meals. Place smaller portions on your plate and eat slowly then go back for seconds only as needed.
- For persons who may be hypertensive, Dr. Smith says, the elderly should decrease the amount of processed (canned or pre-packaged) foods consumed. Eating food in as natural or home grown without adding too much salt in preparation can help with decreasing salt intake.
- For persons who may be diabetic, decrease the amount of added sugar consumed, drink more water than juice and read food labels for items that may have sugar added.
Let your medicine be your food.
CONTACT: FCR NEWS TEAM