At long, last summer is here! And that means fresh fruits and vegetables straight from the garden, food co-op, roadside stand or local grocery. As a caregiver, you can help the senior in your life eat well, enjoy the best of the season’s bounty, and reap the benefits of healthy eating.
Eating well this season is about fresh, colorful food, and on many occasions, eating out of doors with family and friends which adds to the pleasure. For older adults, there are particular benefits of healthy eating. They include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, higher energy levels, faster recuperation times and better management of chronic health problems. Eating well can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced.
MyPlate for Older Adults, developed by Tufts University researchers to replace the USDA food pyramid, continues to emphasize the importance of fresh fruits and vegetables in the senior diet. Included among the recommendations of MyPlate are eating bright-colored vegetables such as carrots, zucchini, summer squash, and broccoli, and deep-colored fruit such as plums, berries and melon. Foods with high water content such as lettuce, garden fresh tomatoes, watermelon, homemade fruit and vegetable juices are good for seniors to add hydration especially during the heat of summer. Soups, such as gazpacho, which can be made from fresh vegetables and served chilled during warm weather are ideal and healthful, too.
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