For senior citizens, a healthy diet can be crucial to living a longer, fuller life, and raw food veganism can be one such diet; Medicines (US) Food Forum found that the type of protein ingestion senior vegans partake in reduces IDF-1 levels by up to 10%. IDF-1 is an important biological marker in diagnosing cancer and other diseases, however, for many senior citizens, the issue of mobility, habits, and inability to access food can hamper their ability to adhere to a raw food regimen. Despite this, there are solid strategies for maintaining raw food diets throughout the senior years.
Disability and food equity
Senior citizens have a higher rate of disability than any other demographic group, and this can impact their ability to enjoy the full range of foods on offer. This can range from problems in accessing food due to mobility concerns, through to the effects of chronic illness on a senior citizen’s ability to get out and about and obtain good quality food. But the good news is, there are options out there to tackle this. Prime among them is the provision of Medicaid, which enables senior citizens living with illnesses lead a more independent and comfortable life. Increasingly, Medicaid-covered institutions such as nursing homes and hospitals are being bound to offer vegan and raw food meals that are in line with nutritional standards. Elsewhere, food services are popping up that provide a greater range of choices, in turn helping to address the mobility challenge.
As asserted by the Mayo Clinic, malnutrition is a primary concern for senior citizens. Health concerns can lead to a lowered appetite, or reduced range of foods in the diet, and this will in turn create malnutrition. A raw food diet addresses this, but in the early days, it can be difficult to have a good range of recipes. To assist senior citizens, recipes should be given that have the full range of nutrition needed but are easily accessible and straightforward to cook.
Focusing on certain areas
Senior citizens will naturally have areas of nutrition that will be lower than elsewhere, or have greater importance. For instance, calcium becomes very important for bone strength, more so than in any other part of life apart from adolescence, and especially so in women. However, as most conventional diets derive huge amounts of calcium from dairy, it can be difficult to find this nutrient. The Vegan Society note that certain veggies, like kale, pak choi, okra and figs have significant amounts of calcium and can easily be integrated into meal plans. For senior citizens, it will be crucial to identify problem areas for nutrition and address them assertively through certain elements in the diet.
A vegan diet is an excellent and healthy choice for senior citizens, providing a range of nutrition and healthy benefits to the heart and vascular system that can often be imperiled by meat-heavy regimens. However, specific disabilities and health concerns can create a difficult situation for seniors. Honing in on specific needs and addressing them assertively is the best way to find a balance.