Sweet potatoes are not just a tasty treat for holiday meals. These root vegetables are actually rich in essential vitamins and minerals that offer many benefits for people over 65. Westport, CT, caregivers discuss a few of the reasons your aging loved one might want to continue eating sweet potatoes long after Thanksgiving and Christmas are over.
1. Boost the Immune System
As people get older, their immune systems do not work as well to defend their bodies against illnesses as they used to. Sweet potatoes contain plenty of beta-carotene, which has been shown to increase the body’s T cell count, the cells that fight infection. They also contain vitamins C and B, iron, and phosphorus, all of which are immunity boosters.
2. Keep the Digestive Tract Healthy
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, especially their skins. Fiber is important to senior diets because it helps relieve constipation and can even prevent colon cancer, which makes these roots one of the tastiest ways to stay regular.
3. Promote Heart Health
Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium. Potassium helps seniors maintain normal blood pressure, heart function, and fluid and electrolyte levels in the cells, which is why sweet potatoes are especially beneficial for those who are not physically active and cannot strengthen their hearts on their own.
4. Protect the Eyes
These root vegetables are rich in beta-carotene, which can help slow macular degeneration and cataracts. The body also converts beta-carotene to vitamin A, a nutrient that helps prevent eye conditions like night blindness and dry eyes. Both of these nutrients can also reduce your loved one’s risk for eye infections.
5. Soothe Arthritis Pain
Because they contain beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B, sweet potatoes can help your loved one manage his or her arthritis symptoms. If the sweet potatoes were boiled, your loved one can even rub the water used to boil them onto his or her joints to ease arthritis pain.
To learn more about senior nutrition, reach out to Home Care Assistance. Our respite and live-in caregivers can prepare nutritious meals for your loved one and even take care of the grocery shopping, and they can also help with a variety of other important tasks. For more information on the home care Westport families trust, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 203-955-1915 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.