Maximizing Antioxidant Benefits in Senior Adults

Posted by Kia Crawford on June 15th, 2012 in Alpharetta, GA, Body | No Comments

Vitamins frequently come from our food. Bananas are a great source for potassium. Spinach is an excellent source iron. Oranges are a good source for vitamin C.  However, as we age our bodies do not absorb as much nutritional content through our food. Further, restricted diets or changes in appetite can also make getting the necessary “good stuff” more of a challenge for the older population.  To add to this challenge, as we age free radicals become more rampant in our body.  Fortunately, high volumes of  antioxidants can render free radicals harmless and  stop them from causing diseases such as cancer or heart disease. A way to get extra antioxidants to fight these cancer causing agents is to take in more fruits and vegetables as they are packed with tons of antioxidants.

Although not ideal, it may be necessary for seniors to take additional supplements for the extra dose of nutrition. There many supplements on the market. In fact, residents at Dogwood Forest Assisted Living of Alpharetta may have special diets, and it may be necessary to add additional nutritional supplements to food.

Pointers for Increasing the Intake of Antioxidants

  • Increase appetite: Who really likes bland food? Well, aside from my husband? No one. Often, elder adults are limited in what they can eat due to a medical restricted diet. Food offered seasoned with spices makes it more appealing, so get creative.  Offer favorite foods. Don’t overwhelm with too much food, and offer in small increments.shutterstock_378736627
  • Increase activity and exercise: The more active a person is the more hungry they become. This means there is higher chance of consuming more antioxidants.
  • Don’t force: Who wants to be force eat?  Be patient because again there  is naturally a lost of appetite as we age a lost and  this may take time to re-build. If you are trying to increase your own appetite, enjoy the aromas and make food fun again.
  • Drink more coffee: Despite its bad wrap, studies have shown for years that coffee has some health benefits including lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, liver cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, Parkinson’s, and lowering the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s in middle aged people who consume 3-5 cups per day.  But, more recent studies have shown that coffee has antioxidants. Although, antioxidants are not as high in coffee as it is in fruits or berries, people tend to drink more than they eat. Dedicated coffee drinkers can drink 3 or more cups per day. So, that means more antioxidants.
  • Eat more popcorn, yes, popcorn: Who doesn’t like a fun snack? Recent studies have shown that popcorn is packed with antioxidants and will give fruits and vegetables a run for the money in the antioxidant department. We frequently offer popcorn as a snack at Dogwood Forest of Alpharetta. Popcorn is 100% whole grain. Whole grain has higher concentration of antioxidants than most fruits of vegetables. The hull ( the annoying piece that always seems to get stuck in your teeth during a great movie) actually has the highest concentration of antioxidants than any other part of the kernel. So, popcorn is a very healthy snack, but be sure to watch the butter and salt!