Across the globe, our population is ageing, and obesity in those aged 65 and above is increasing, bringing new burdens of ill health related to poor diet and inactivity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over a third of Americans are obese, with associated health problems imposing substantial economic and personal impacts on individuals, families and communities.
Some of the conditions associated with being overweight include Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In many ways, a raw food diet can help people aiming to lose weight, do so healthily on a long-term basis, without having to give up flavor, texture, or pleasure in the dining experience, and without having to forego one’s favorite foods.
Undernutrition another Dilemma for the Elderly
Obesity is not the only nutritional problem affecting seniors. As noted by the World Health Organization, micronutrient deficiencies are common in elderly people owing to a number of factors, including reduced intake and a lack of variety in the foods consumed. Malnutrition and unintentional weight loss contributes to progressive decline in health, reduced physical and cognitive functioning, and many other issues that can interfere with one’s quality of life and shorten one’s lifespan.
Prevention and early intervention are key, since the effects of under-nutrition or excessive weight loss are irreversible. That is, seniors who eat little and consume a lack of variety, tend to lose muscle mass and when weight is regained, it tends to comprise fat rather than muscle. This increases the risk of disability, reduced mobility, and poor quality of life. Staying at a healthy weight is vital for seniors, both to increase bone and joint health, and to prevent heart disease. In essence, those who are overweight stress their bones and joints, while those who are underweight risk frailty, bone loss, and falls.
How Can a Raw Food Diet Help?
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Following a raw food diet ensures seniors consume healthy meals that are packed with enzymes, which aid in digestion and allows greater absorption of nutrients. Additionally, the high fibre content of fruits and vegetables, an important part of the raw food movement, ensure that daily elimination is never a struggle.
Raw foods boost our uptake of crucial vitamins such as B1, folate, and C, whose levels are reduced when subjected to heat. Cooking food can subject iners to potentially harmful compounds that arise during cooking, including advanced glycation end products, HCAs, and PAHs, which are toxic to the human body.
Raw food also helps seniors look younger, since phytochemical-rich foods feed the skin vital ‘light energy’, allowing cells to rid themselves of toxins and keeping collagen fibers in a healthy state – something which is impossible to do when one’s diet contains highly processed, sugary foods.
The raw food diet can put an end to the weight gain/weight loss conundrum. Seniors can enjoy a wide variety of foods and consume the calories they need, without packing on the pounds. To learn more about the many easy recipes they can prepare daily, a little research and experimentation are key, as is an interest in approaching health form a holistic standpoint –– one in which diet, physical activity and rest, all have an important role to play.