Did you know that older adults are highly vulnerable to zinc deficiency? Studies show that with age it becomes harder for the body to absorb zinc, leaving more than 40% of seniors over 65 years of age zinc deficient. Because zinc offers a wide range of health benefits to older adults, the professional Fairfield caregivers from Home Care Assistance share why and how this important trace mineral should be incorporated into the diet of every senior adult.
The Benefits of Zinc for Seniors
Zinc eliminates heavy metals known to cause damage the brain and is recommended by dementia care professionals because it can prevent nerve degeneration and protect the brain against inflammation and cognitive conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Zinc is also vital for:
- Cellular growth
- Carbohydrate metabolism
- Enzyme activity
- Immune strength
- Preserving sense of smell and taste
- Sound sleep
- Wound healing
Serving a Diet Rich in Zinc
The recommended daily intake of zinc for older adults is 15 mg. The body is unable to manufacturer zinc, so seniors must obtain the mineral through the diet. Some of the best food sources of zinc include:
- Beef, lamb, and turkey
- Chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils
- Spinach and green peas
- Peanuts and cashews
- Pumpkin and sesame seeds
- Whole grains, quinoa, and fortified cereals
What about Supplements?
Older adults who have issues affecting the mouth or throat, a decrease in appetite, or trouble preparing healthy meals may turn to supplements to get adequate amounts of zinc. However, it’s important that seniors first check with their doctors to determine which supplements and what doses are safe. High doses of zinc, generally more than 40mg per day, can negatively impact senior health, decreasing immunity and causing nausea, headaches, irritability, stomach pain, and vomiting.
Interested in learning more about how to provide a healthy senior diet to a senior loved one? Reach out to Home Care Assistance, a trusted provider of senior home care in Fairfield, CT. Our trained and professional caregivers can assist your senior loved one with grocery shopping, healthy meal preparation, feeding, and more. Call a friendly Care Manager today at (203) 955-1915 and request a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.