Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Seniors to Add to Their DietAugust 2, 2023
Everyone is bound to experience inflammation from time to time. Seniors, however, are more likely to experience challenges aggravated by inflammation, including rheumatoid arthritis and muscle problems. These conditions can vary from uncomfortable to outright painful and can seriously interrupt one’s life.
Medicine has advanced greatly in the past few decades, offering seniors some relief from these chronic problems. Even with those advancements, there are things you can do in your day-to-day life to make things easier. Try these anti-inflammatory foods for seniors to add to their diet so you can help fight your inflammation.
However, there is one important thing to remember: before making any changes to your diet, it is essential that you speak with your doctor. They will help determine if these dietary changes are for the betterment of your life. In addition, they could help you determine the best ways to incorporate these changes into your diet with ease.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is broken down into two categories: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to a cut or scrape. The area reddens and swells, and as the injury heals, the inflammation goes away.
Chronic inflammation, however, is when the body is inflamed for long periods of time in response to an imbalance, infection, or chronic condition, usually internally. The problem with chronic inflammation is that most don’t realize they have it until their health deteriorates. This increases the risk of conditions such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, or even dementia.
Inflammation can be exacerbated by your life habits, such as exercise and diet. In your day-to-day life, stay away from:
- Processed foods
- Added sugar/salt
- Unhealthy oils (canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil)
- Processed carbs (white bread, pasta, baked goods)
- Processed snacks
- Premade desserts
- Excessive red meats
What are some anti-inflammatory foods seniors should add to their diet?
Just as a healthy diet benefits every other aspect of your life, so does it impact your inflammation. A diet rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins are all the pieces of a healthy diet. That being said, try to incorporate these anti-inflammatory foods into your diet to hopefully see a reduction in the condition.
Berries—such as acai, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries—are known as superfoods for a reason. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it’s already more than worth it to have a serving of berries every day. They are also high in polyphenols and anthocyanins, which help reduce inflammation in the body.
Healthy fats are a fantastic way to fight the inflammatory response in one’s body, and avocado is full of them. They are also rich in vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, as well as important fatty acids such as lutein, beta-carotene, and omega-3. Since avocados are relatively low in flavor, you can enjoy them in practically any dish.
Turmeric is a spice often found in Indian cuisine that is related to the ginger plant. It contains high levels of curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, as well as antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, turmeric may lower cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Spinach, kale, and collard greens are full of vitamin E, calcium, iron, and phytochemicals. These fight free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause problems with DNA, lipids, and proteins. Add leafy greens to your diet in the form of salads, in your favorite kinds of pasta, or even in smoothies.
Nuts and seeds
Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds are excellent sources of anti-inflammatory effects, including omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. They are also rich in antioxidants (including vitamin E, selenium, and various phytochemicals), which help neutralize free radicals in the body. These snacks provide a satisfying crunch while promoting heart health.
While certain oils should be avoided, olive oil is not one of them. Extra virgin olive oil contains oleocanthal, which has similar properties to certain anti-inflammatory drugs. This type of oil also contains great healthy fats. Replace your butter, shortening, or other fats in your recipes with this kind of oil to see the benefits.
Sweet lovers, rejoice! Cocoa is an antioxidant that contains polyphenols, which can help you see lower levels of inflammation. However, not all chocolates were created equal. To enjoy the benefits, select dark chocolate bars that are 70% pure cacao, and only have a few ounces a few times a week.
Healthy eating with the help of home care
Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is a powerful way to support your overall health and well-being. By embracing a variety of nutrient-dense options and making mindful food choices, seniors can reduce inflammation, manage chronic conditions, and enhance their quality of life. However, eating healthfully can be quite a challenge when cooking isn’t as easy as it once was.
If that is the case, don’t settle for unhealthy meal options. Hire the help of an at-home caregiver. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff is happy to help our clients with a variety of activities of daily living, including meal preparation. To learn more about our services, call us at 773-274-9262.
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