At any age, proper nutrition and healthy eating habits are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle and prevent illness. However, nutritional needs are not the same at every stage of our lives.

Babies require a vastly different diet than a teenager, and a teenager’s dietary requirements differ from those of an adult. The same holds true when it comes to an older adult’s nutritional needs. As we grow older, diet elements become even more important, allowing us to maintain physical health, prevent certain illnesses, and sustain memory and cognitive function. Yet, these unique nutritional needs are often overlooked.

For instance, it is common for older adults not to feel thirsty, leading to dehydration. This can be due to a variety of causes, like medication side effects, but hydration is essential for overall health. Staying hydrated, especially during the summer months, can be difficult if one does not feel the need to drink liquids. By implementing certain foods into an individual’s diet, this can be combatted. 

The Pavilion Senior Living has gathered a few summer nutrition tips and recipes that will taste delicious and help maintain a healthy lifestyle!

Utilizing Seasonal Foods for Health Benefits

Some fruits and vegetables have been shown to prevent dehydration, and, because of the time of year they are ready for harvest, make great additions to incorporate into an older adult’s summer nutrition plan.

Classic summer fruits, such as watermelon, contain significant amounts of vitamins and antioxidants that older adults need for their overall health. In addition, these fruits hold a lot of juice, helping to prevent dehydration when consumed. Furthermore, both watermelon and tomatoes contain the antioxidant, lycopene, which has been found to assist in the prevention of heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Recipes that Incorporate Healthy Summer Foods

Iced Coffee

Who knew that drinking coffee could have health benefits? Coffee has developed a negative reputation, but individuals who drink coffee should be glad to know that they are helping their health. There have been many studies conducted that link health benefits that affect several systems in the body to coffee, and not just the caffeine aspect.

Coffee holds high amounts of antioxidants and minerals. These properties contribute to the prevention of tissue damage caused by oxygen-free radicals and insulin regulation, controlling blood sugar in the body. The antioxidants and minerals found in coffee, in addition to caffeine, can help to prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and even dementia.

“In 2009, researchers in Finland and Sweden reported a study that followed over 1,400 people over 20 years, and found that those who drank 3 to 5 cups of coffee a day in their midlife years had a 65% lower chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease compared with those who reported drinking no coffee at all or only occasionally.”

Furthermore, another study was conducted to further develop a link between caffeine (from coffee specifically) and the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. “In June 2012, researchers from the University of South Florida (USF) and the University of Miami, published a paper describing how they monitored the memory and thinking processes of 124 people, aged 65 to 88, and found those with higher blood levels of caffeine…avoided the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the 2-4 year follow up.”

Adding a Summer Twist

During the summer months, a hot cup of coffee may sound unappealing; however, individuals can still get their coffee fix by altering the way they consume their coffee – making it iced. The Pioneer Woman has shared a customizable iced coffee recipe that is perfect for the warm summer months. This recipe can be adjusted to personal taste preferences and sugar intake restrictions.

Tomato, Watermelon, and Feta Skewers

With some of the health benefits of tomatoes and watermelon listed previously, we do not need to tell you how perfect this recipe is to implement into a summer nutrition plan! This refreshing, nutritional recipe shared by Southern Living is great as is but can be adapted. If skewers are not an option, use the ingredients to make a salad or as a relish to top grilled meats.

At The Pavilion Senior Living, with senior care communities in Tennessee and West Virginia, we value the importance of nutrition and understand how it affects an individual’s overall health. This is why we offer exceptional dining services throughout all of our communities that provide nutritionally balanced, delicious meals that cater to the individual dietary needs of each person. Contact us to learn more.

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