It’s no secret that seaweed is an amazing food, packed with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that people need for healthy living. What may not be as well-known is how healthy seaweed can be for the elderly. From helping lower blood pressure to strengthening skin, seaweed is good for the elderly and should be a part of a healthy diet.
Many elderly diets are lacking
Dietary needs change with aging, and the need for nutrients in particular is important for aging populations. According to NCBI, dietary needs change with aging in several ways:
People become less active, their metabolism slows, their energy requirement decreases, all of which mean that they need to eat less.
Because older adults’ abilities to absorb and utilize many nutrients become less efficient, their nutrient requirements actually increase.
Chronic conditions and medications can affect nutrition requirements. This is especially true of the B vitamins.
However, the elderly may also face challenges in achieving access to and consumption of a high quality diet given obstacles such as loss of appetite, oral health decline, and mobility constraints.
How seaweed can benefit the elderly
Seaweed is a rich source of several vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and B vitamins. Seaweed is also a rich source of several minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and iron. Many species of seaweed are rich in omega-3s: both the long chain EPA as well as the shorter chain alpha linolenic acid. Some also contain DHA, the other long-chain omega-3 commonly found in fish.
Seaweed not only has antioxidants vitamins C and E, but also phytochemicals such as polyphenols and fucoxanthin, which gives the various species high antioxidant activity. It has many of the nutrients the elderly lack, all in one source! Foods such as seaweed that are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber are a great way to help seniors get all the calories and nutrients they need in a day. Seaweed contains iodine, magnesium, zinc and other important minerals that are a great supplement to a senior’s regular dietary plan.
The health benefits of seaweed for seniors
The health benefits of seaweed are numerous, including:
- Good for dental health
- Helps improve memory
- Supports good eyesight
- Helps build strong bones
- Assists the immune system
- Keeps heart vessels healthy
- Supports clear skin
- Keeps the digestive system healthy
- Best natural source of iodine
Getting seaweed into an every day diet
As mentioned previously, there are challenges as we age when it comes to getting good nutrition. We lose our appetite, lose our ability to prepare meals, or simply lack the energy to eat a full meal. That’s what makes seaweed so wonderful! You can add seaweed to soups, dressings, stews and smoothies. You can consume it in seafood dishes and with sushi. For the easiest and most convenient solution, you can take a high quality seaweed supplement, either taking it as a capsule or breaking open the capsule to add to smoothies, salads or cereals. Find one that contains Omega 3s, as seniors tend to lack Omega 3s in their diets, according to WebMD.
Of course, anyone can benefit from including seaweed or seaweed supplements into their diets, but the elderly in particular can benefit due to its high nutritional value, versatility, and the ability to take as a supplement. Seaweed is good for the elderly, so if you or a loved one is seeking to enhance your diet as you age, consider seaweed!