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Beneficial Beans: Why They Should Be Included in Elderly Diets

By Nancy Delwaide, 9:00 am on

Focusing on a nutritious diet is crucial in the senior years because it can help prevent certain health conditions. Though most foods have at least something healthy to offer the elderly, beans have proven to be especially beneficial. The Oakville, ON, respite care experts at Home Care Assistance discuss a few of the benefits of including beans in your elderly loved one’s diet.

Fiber

Because elderly people generally have slower digestive systems, having a regular dose of fiber in their diets helps keep them regular and prevents constipation. Fiber also helps keep them fuller for longer than processed foods do, which is especially important because metabolism also slows down as a person ages.

Protein

Beans have a surprisingly substantial amount of protein in them (15 grams per cup), offering your loved one the benefits of meat without having to worry about the added heart-damaging cholesterol. One serving of beans has almost as much protein as a 3-ounce serving of meat (20 grams), and beans also have about twice as much protein as the meat substitute tofu (7.5 grams).

Iron

Beans are a good source of iron, which is especially important to the elderly. Without this nutrient, your loved one can develop anemia, which would make him or her feel weak and lethargic. Because vegetable sources of iron are not as readily absorbable as meat sources, many nutritionists recommend serving beans with foods high in vitamin C, such as tomatoes and bell peppers, because they aid in iron absorption. However, these foods should not be overcooked because too much heat destroys the important nutrients.

Variety

There are many different types of beans you can serve your loved one, which means he or she will not have to worry about eating the same thing on a regular basis. Beans taste good when served hot or cold, and they can work well as a main or side dish. If your loved one cannot chew well, add some chicken or vegetable stock to the beans and mash them up.

If your loved one needs help maintaining a healthy diet, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Oakville. Our respite and live-in caregivers are available around the clock to help prepare nutritious meals, take care of grocery shopping, and assist with a wide array of other daily tasks. For more information on the in-home elder care Oakville seniors trust, call one of our friendly Care Managers at (905) 337-1200 to schedule a free in-home consultation.