Often it can be difficult for elderly people to chew and swallow their food and if this is the case, smoothies and juices can be the answer in terms of ensuring that your elderly parent gets the right level of vitamins and other nutrients in their diet.
Certain smoothies and juices can be very helpful with specific ailments:
Anti-ageing: juice grapes, blackcurrants and apple for make a delicious drink packed full of vitamin E and C, which are the most efficient vitamins for fighting against free radical damage which causes premature ageing.
Anaemia: to restore iron levels, juice carrots, cabbage leaves and cucumber
Prevent colds: by juicing carrots, garlic and parsley. The anti-oxidant and anti-viral properties of the garlic help to ward off colds.
Digestion: try juicing pineapple, plain yoghurt and a little water for a smoothie which will restore good bacteria in the gut. Particularly good after a bout of diarrhoea
Urinary infections: juice cranberries and watermelon for a fabulous pink juice drink, which will help with urinary infections
Prostate problems: melons are gently diuretic and contain magnesium and potassium, which help to balance the hormonal system. Juice the melon with an apple and broccoli, the latter of which contains anti-cancer nutrients
Joint pain: this can be alleviated by juicing leeks,which have great anti-inflammatory properties with carrots and parsley
Anti- inflammatory: Leeks have great cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties. Juice the leeks with apples and ginger, which will stimulate the circulation and can ease joint pain
Heart and circulation: Juice blackcurrants with spinach, which is packed full of potassium,which helps to control blood pressure
Constipation: juice tomatoes, spinach and carrots, which are all high in fibre and will help to relax the bowels
Be aware that fruit juice has high sugar content. Add fruit to your juicing for taste and palatability, but be careful not to overdo the sugar.
As always, a physician should be consulted before making any radical changes to a patient’s diet if they are on blood-thinners, or cholesterol or diabetes medication. Many green juices can interact with medications, but for the most part, juicing carrots, apples, pears, oranges, and berries are safe for most people (as long as they are not diabetic). For diabetics, juices should be blended with protein powder and low-fat yogurt to balance the sugar.
So, like many things involved in the love and care of the elderly, starting a juicing plan will require thought and planning, but the rewards—a better daily outlook and life due to better nutrition—are worth it.
And more importantly, you may be able to skip those nasty nutritional supplement milkshakes.