What Is the DASH Diet and How Can You Make it Easier for Your Senior?
June 30, 2022
If your elderly family member has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure or another cardiovascular illness, her doctor might have recommended that she adopt the DASH diet. This is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, and the changes can feel big for your senior.
The DASH Diet Defined
The DASH diet is all about reducing high blood pressure. The fundamental aspects of the diet revolve around eating more fruits and vegetables while simultaneously reducing saturated fat intake. Fish, poultry, and other lean meats are on the “okay” list, but excess salt and sugar end up on the “not okay” list with red meat. This can be a big change for your senior, especially if she’s not in the habit of really thinking about what she’s eating.
Add Fruits and Vegetables to All Meals
One of the easiest ways to start out with the DASH diet is simply to make sure that your senior adds fruits and vegetables to every meal. That can be as easy as having an apple with breakfast, a side salad at lunch, and a non-starchy vegetable at dinner. Desserts can also be fruits, and vegetables make great snacks. Keeping up with all that prep might feel difficult, which is where senior care at home can help out.
Reduce Meat Intake Wherever Possible
Red meat is one of the biggest “no” items on the DASH diet, which might not be something your senior has given up before. Substituting poultry or fish for red meat is a great option, but the best idea can be to include more vegetarian dishes in your senior’s diet. Home care providers can help with this type of prep, too.
Choose Low-sodium Foods
Sodium is a big problem for people with high blood pressure because it can lead to water retention and other issues. But giving up the salt is easier said than done for most people. Reading nutritional labels and checking for added salt is crucial, but it’s also important to avoid adding too much salt while cooking or at the table. Your senior’s tastebuds will adjust, even if she’s not convinced of that fact yet. One solution is to try out new spices and herbs, which can really enrich the flavors of food without adding the issues that salt can.
Reduce Fat Intake
Restricting excess fat intake is important, too. Saturated fats in particular, like the fats in animal products, are the big ones to avoid. Trans fats are not high on the “good” list, either. Replacing those fats with healthy fats like those in nuts, seeds, and avocados. Senior care at home can also help your elderly family member to keep up with her fat intake during meals and snacks.
The DASH diet is just one way of eating that your elderly family member’s doctor might recommend that she try in order to improve her health. It’s a lot easier to make any dietary changes with help and support, and home care can offer that to your senior.
If you or your loved one is looking for Senior Home Care in Saratoga, CA, please call Familiar Surroundings Home Care.
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