Nutritionists agree that a healthful diet includes a variety of foods. Food choices also can help reduce the risk for chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis, which are the leading causes of death and disability among Americans. But for seniors, certain foods may pose a significant health hazard because of the level of bacteria present in the product’s raw or uncooked state. This is especially true as the summer heat bears down.
Seniors should avoid these products:
- Raw fin fish and shellfish
- Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese
- Soft cheeses such as feta, Brie, etc. Hard cheeses, processed cheeses, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or yogurt need not be avoided.
- Raw or lightly cooked eggs, eggnog etc.
- Raw meat or poultry
- Raw alfalfa sprouts
There are ways to assist seniors in eating a healthy diet. They include:
- Aim to have small frequent meals each day rather than trying for 3 large ones.
- Add extra energy and protein sources to main meals such as milk, cheese and butter on vegetables.
- It is important to have appropriate meal consistency. If there are problems chewing certain foods, choose soft texture foods.
- Add protein drinks to the mix.
- Incorporate food preferences into each meal and monitor food intake regularly.
- When possible, eat with them or even just sit with them while they eat.
- Allow them plenty of time.