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Incorporating More Grains Into Your Dad's Diet

Sep 7, 2018 by Nancy Hmieleski, RN, BSN Director of Nursing

Grains are important in the diet, but many people don't eat enough. Does your dad eat whole grains that are rich in fiber? In addition to helping prevent constipation, fiber can also help with high cholesterol. Here are ways that you and your senior's home care provider can make sure your dad is eating plenty of grains.

The Benefit of Grains

Most people know that grains are high in fiber. They're also high in many B vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, and selenium. B vitamins help the body process energy from the carbs, fat, and protein from the foods you eat. Folic acid is a B vitamin, and it helps with the formation of red blood cells. 

Iron helps with the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream. If you want to help out the immune system, selenium is a big help. Selenium also helps with cell health. Magnesium is beneficial for the bones and muscles. 

Soluble fiber absorbs water. In the intestines that's a good thing. It helps keep waste moist and is therefore soft. This eliminates straining that can lead to hemorrhoids and lowers the chance of as senior becoming constipated.

What Are the Best Choices for Grains?

Look for whole grains. You want to avoid refined grains that have been processed to remove the bran and germ. The B vitamins, fiber, and iron are mostly found in the brand and germ. That's why it's so important to stick with whole grains. 

It's recommended that women after the age of 50 eat five ounces of grains each day. Men in that age group should eat six ounces each day. The absolute minimum anyone should eat is three ounces. To get that many ounces, make sure you understand the equivalents. Of the best grain choices, a half-cup of cooked bulgur counts as one ounce. Others are as follows:

  • 1/3 cup dry oats
  • ½ cup cooked brown or black rice
  • ½ cup cooked whole grain pasta
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup cooked farro
  • ½ cup cooked barley

Grains are versatile, so they're easy to incorporate. You can cook them and turn them into cold salads. Add them to soup in place of noodles or white rice. Refrigerator oatmeal is easy to make in advance and leave in the fridge for easy breakfasts. You can also use grains in place of white rice in rice pilafs and casseroles.

In addition to meal preparation, home care services can help your dad remember to take medications, drive him to stores and medical offices, and help with housework. Call a home care agency to discuss your dad's care needs.

If you or an elderly loved one are considering home care in Lambertville, NJ, or the surrounding areas, call the caring professionals at Comfort Keepers of Flemington, NJ. Call today (908) 806-2220.

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