Soluble fiber foods for seniors are a good inclusion to their diet. Why? As aging sets in, the gastrointestinal tract experiences some changes which affect its function of absorbing nutrients and it slows down the motility of the intestine. The end result of this is malabsorption, constipation and nutrient deficiency. These are common health issues that affect seniors of either gender. A diet high in fiber helps to prevent constipation and trigger intestinal motility. There is also evidence that shows that cholesterol levels can be lowered with the help of dietary fiber and also the regulation of the blood sugar.
Plant-based foods usually contain dietary fibers, examples are legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Although the human body is unable to digest or absorb dietary fiber, it is still a contributing factor to the well being of an individual. There are two kinds of dietary fiber, we have the insoluble and soluble fiber. Water can dissolve the soluble fiber turning it into a gel-like substance that can stick to toxins, bile, and any other debris, dragging them away from the body. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, acts like a sponge that attracts water and cleans up the intestines, triggers bowel movement, and improves intestinal motility. Elderly people also are known as the seniors who usually experience constipation due to decreased rhythmic contractions or intestinal peristalsis, low fiber diet or inactive lifestyle.
The general recommendation of total fiber daily intake for seniors, that is, adults above age 50 is to be not less than thirty grams daily for male and twenty-one grams daily for women. This is the recommendation for total fiber. Because of the water absorption performed by insoluble fiber, you have to drink lots of water or a high fiber in your diet can cause issues with bowel movement and constipation.
The thirst mechanism of seniors is oftentimes suppressed so they may find it difficult to regulate their fluid level, this can be taken care of by them making a deliberate effort of drinking up to eight or ten cups of water. Fresh juice, liquids with no caffeine, herbal tea and purified water are the best.
Soluble Fiber Food for Seniors
1. Black Beans
This means not only gives your meal a good taste and meaty texture but is also a great soluble fiber source. One cup, approximately 172 grams of black beans is ideal for an average person one-day consumption. Black beans have pectin which is a soluble fiber form that becomes gummy when in water. This delayed emptying of the stomach and can make you feel full for a little while more, providing sufficient time for the body to absorb its nutrients.
Black beans also have a rich supply of protein, iron, is fat-free and has low calories
2. Lima Beans
Another name for this beans is butter beans, they are flattened, large yellowish-white beans. Their main contents are proteins and carb with a little fat. Its dietary fiber is lower than in black beans. However, they both have a similar amount of soluble fiber. Pectin can also be found in Lima beans which are linked to decreases spikes in blood sugar after meals.
Lima beans should be boiled before eating it, the uncooked ones are toxic. There are 5.3 grams of soluble fiber in 128 grams of lima beans.
Figs are amongst the most ancient plants cultivated by man. Their nutrition contents are very high, they have magnesium, calcium, B vitamins, and potassium. Both fresh and dried figs supply soluble fiber. This helps in slowing down food movement through the intestines giving more time for absorption of nutrients.
Anecdotal evidence tells us that a type of home treatment for improving constipation uses dried figs. Another study that the paste from paste improves the movement of the bowels in dogs that are constipated. Research is yet to be carried out on humans.
Pears are refreshing and crispy and supply a decent amount of potassium, various antioxidants, and vitamin C. they are also excellent soluble fiber sources with about 5.5 grams in a fruit. Twenty-nine percent of the total fiber of pears are contributed by the soluble fibers, pectin to be exact.
The laxative effect of pear is due to its high sorbitol and fructose content. People with irritable bowel have to eat this with caution, they should eat too much.
Would you ever have thought that carrots are soluble fiber sources? Well yes, they are and good ones at that. Good thing that carrots are very popular and also tasty. It can be steamed or boiled and serves as the main ingredient for various dinners. Carrots can also be used for salads or to make carrot cake.
Beta-carotene is contained in carrots and is changed into vitamin A which supports the eyes particularly for good night vision. Since carrot is very versatile and much loved by seniors it can be made the main source of dietary soluble fibers. There are 2.4 grams of this fiber type in 128gram cooked carrots.
Other sources of soluble fiber include apples, apricots, nectarines, kidney beans, turnips, broccoli, sweet potatoes, avocados, Brussels sprouts, guavas, flax-seeds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, oats, and barley.
Including soluble fiber foods in seniors meal plan will benefit them in the long run. We already saw some of the benefits which include gut health, reduced chances of getting heart diseases by decreasing LDL “bad” cholesterol and balancing the level of blood sugar. You can start slowly and gradually build up your fiber intake, one meal at a time. Drinking enough water is advisable as this will also aid digestion.