Medical care for the elderly – eat to beat the flu!

April, 2013

According to dietician Denise Griffiths, boosting your intake of antioxidant rich fruit and vegetables could be the best defence against sniffles and sneezes for the elderly community.

Elderly care advice states one of the most important parts of an immune boosting diet is making sure to consume enough zinc, found in lean red meat, fish and poultry, wholegrain cereals, legumes, reduced-fat dairy foods and nuts.

According to a UK study involving more than 180 people, eating breakfast may also help fight off colds and flu. Along with stress, the researchers found that missing breakfast was linked to susceptibility to illnesses, such as the common cold.

So today we’d like to provide diet related information for elderly people and their families to help in the battle against flu.

Mrs Griffiths’ Top 10 tips to a healthier winter:

1) Choose a wide variety of fruit and vegetables, in a range of colours. Picking those in season is good for the budget.

2) For a healthy immune system, having enough zinc, found in lean red meat, fish and poultry as well as wholegrain cereals, legumes, reduced-fat dairy foods and nuts.

3) Encourage your loved one to start the day with a warm breakfast. Missing breakfast can be linked to susceptibility to illnesses.  Try porridge with reduced-fat milk, or poached or boiled eggs on wholegrain toast, and some fruit.

4) Include yoghurt in their diet.  Yoghurt is a good source of healthy bacteria, and a food known for its immunity boosting properties. Make a special effort to up your yoghurt intake if you are taking antibiotics, as the healthy bacteria can ease an upset stomach caused by the antibiotics.

5) Try to include nourishing staples like chunky vegetable and lentil soups, and slow-cooked casseroles made with lean meat and vegetables like sweet potato and carrot. Many soups and casseroles provide a variety of vegetables which contain the best mix of antioxidants for a healthy immune system.

6) Have a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with high levels of Vitamin C.  Vitamin C has been shown to help fight infection by enhancing immune system function, and can be sourced from a myriad of fruits and vegetables. The most obvious sources are citrus fruits (oranges, mandarins, grapefruit and lemons), but if you’re looking for sources beyond those, consider capsicum, broccoli and kiwifruit, which all have high levels of Vitamin C.

7) Drink some tea. For thousands of years the Chinese have used tea to treat many ailments including colds and coughs, body aches and pains. Tea is a natural source of antioxidants called flavonoids, which help strengthen the body’s immune system.

8) Drink plenty of water.  It’s important to stay hydrated, whatever the weather.

9) Keep up with regular exercise – it’s a known immune system booster.

10) Visit a dietician if you are unsure if their current dietary habits are going to keep your family member well.

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