Many older adults eat smaller amounts at meal times. This may mean that they need a snack or two during the day. If you do the grocery shopping and meal preparation for an aging relative, you may struggle at times to choose what foods to offer as snacks. Of course, you want to make sure that snacks are nutritious, but, let’s face it, you also need them to be easy because your time is precious.
If you haven’t considered nuts as a snack, a new study provides good reasons you should.
Nuts and Heart Health
Researchers in Sweden conducted a long-term (17 years!) study that was published in a health journal called Heart. The researchers used data from 61,000 people who completed a questionnaire about their eating habits.
The study showed that people who ate nuts tended to make healthier choices overall. They weren’t as likely to smoke or drink alcohol. They also exercised and ate more fruits and vegetables. In addition, people who ate nuts had a lower risk of:
- Heart attack.
- Atrial fibrillation.
- Heart failure.
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Researchers acknowledge that the problem with the study is that it’s hard to say whether the health benefits came from the nuts themselves or from the fact that people who eat nuts lead healthier lifestyles. However, they say that even after they accounted for lifestyle factors, some heart benefits remained.
Why Nuts are Healthy
According to the Mayo Clinic, nuts are healthy because of the substances they are made of, such as:
Good fats: Nuts contain unsaturated fats, which can help lower cholesterol levels.
Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3s may prevent irregular heart rhythms that can lead to a heart attack.
Fiber: Fiber helps lower cholesterol and keeps the stomach feeling full, causing the person to eat less.
Vitamin E: The vitamin E in nuts may prevent the build up of plaque in the arteries.
Although nuts are a healthy snack, seniors should eat them in moderation because they are high in calories. The recommended amount of nuts per week is four servings. The nuts should be unsalted and dry-roasted or raw. A serving of nuts is about 1.5 ounces, or a small handful.
Even if you choose easy snacks like nuts for your aging relative, being responsible for planning meals, shopping for groceries, and cooking can be time consuming. Home care can assist with the older adult’s nutritional needs. A home care provider can plan meals and make grocery lists. They can drive the senior to the grocery store and assist them with shopping. Home care providers can also cook meals.
In addition to helping with meals, home care providers can also take care of many other household tasks, like light cleaning and laundry. And, if your loved one needs help with personal care, home care providers can assist with that, too.
If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Rochester NY, contact the caring staff at Caring Hearts of Rochester today! Serving Rochester, Pittsford, Greece, Webster, Canandaigua, Fairport, Perinton, Penfield, Brighton, Henrietta and surrounding communities. Call 585-245-0134.
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