Celebrating the holidays with seniors who have dietary restrictions

The holiday season is right around the corner, and with it comes opportunities for celebration, spending time with family and, of course, eating some of the year’s most delicious food. While this is certainly one of the most anticipated aspect of the holidays, older adults with chronic conditions may run into complications from some of the common staples of family dinners. Still, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the festive meals just as much as everyone else, it just requires a little creative thinking. Here’s a look at some common dietary issues and how to overcome them:

High blood pressure
According to Statistics Canada, more than 2.3 million adults 65 and older have high blood pressure, and it is one of the biggest risk factors for heart attack and stroke, and eating a holiday meal that’s high in saturated fats, salt and cholesterol is certainly not a good way to keep it under control. However, AgingCare.com notes that there are a few foods that can remedy the situation. Certain holiday staples can actually lower blood pressure, such as sweet potatoes, squash, kale, carrots and green beans. Meanwhile, herbs and spices can be good substitutes for salt.

There is often a focus on indulgence during the holiday season, but that can spell danger for seniors with diabetes. Portion control is very important when comes to older adults managing the condition, so it’s best for families to provide smaller, more manageable amounts of food. According to ThirdAge.com, caregivers should also think about having a clear meal schedule so that their relatives with diabetes can plan their medication schedule accordingly.

There are certain foods that can make symptoms of arthritis worse. For instance, foods high in fat such as bacon and red meat are tied to an increase in inflammation, which has often associated with more pain and discomfort. Conversely, there are a number of foods that have shown to have the opposite effect, according to Health.com. Options that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, are particularly helpful as are broccoli, olive oil and garlic, all of which can provide significant benefits.

“Garlic has phytochemicals that have been shown in mouse and rat studies as well as in test-tube studies to shut off the inflammatory pathways, similar to ibuprofen,” Lona Sandon, a registered dietitian, told the website.