Organic food choices are packed with nutrients, taste, and they help to sustain a global food supply. With age, it’s more important than ever to maintain a healthy diet. Yet, seniors are often the most prone group to poor nutrition. According to statistics by the National Resource Center on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Aging, one in every four U.S. seniors face poor nutrition.
What Happens To Seniors With Poor Diets?
There are innumerable benefits versus consequences of poor nutrition in the elderly. Here are just a few examples of the long-lasting impacts of nutrition on seniors:
- Studies have shown that seniors eating a nutritious diet can lower their risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. It also helps to manage existing chronic diseases. The likelihood of cancer is decreased.
- Poor nutrition often causes seniors to be more frail and overweight or underweight, which leaves them more apt for falls and accidents that can threaten their independence.
- A senior’s immune system naturally weakens with age. Food-borne illnesses, toxins, and allergies are particularly high-risk as the immune system ages and weaken.
What Can Seniors Do To Ensure Good Nutrition?
The number one goal is a maintaining a well-balanced diet that’s focused on nutritional value, not calories. With age, humans become less active and their caloric needs decrease. However, age brings about health-related risks that increase the need for quality foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients and low in processed sugars, additives, fats, and salts.
Changing to an organic diet is one of the best decisions a senior can make.
What Does Organic Mean?
Certified organic foods are those that have been planted, grown, and processed according to federal USDA guidelines. The guidelines look at every factor of a food from its conception as a seed or animal and the quality of the soil it’s planted or raised upon to how it’s processed and packaged for sale. The standards are the most biologically-based methods available, which means no additives, steroids, pesticides, or harmful agents go into the organic foods.
How Does Eating Organic Promote Health In Seniors?
Benefit 1: Organic foods are free of harmful chemicals
Commercially grown and raised food, even if it’s touted as farm-to-table, is full of chemicals used to expedite the growth process and/or make cultivating as easy as possible. There are over 600 active agricultural chemicals approved by the EPA and available to farmers.
However, according to The National Academy of Sciences, manufacturers and the EPA have only tested around 10% of these chemicals for the long-term health effects of human consumption. Make no mistake that they’re being consumed. The FDA only tests approximately 1% of foods for pesticide residue.
Yet, independent research has linked many of these chemicals to health implications from cancer to thyroid disease.
Benefit 2: Organic foods contain more nutrients
Without chemicals to destroy or inhibit nutrients during the growth phase and because the organic soil is nourished and managed naturally, these crops have more nutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and enzymes. A study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, for example, showed that organic foods contained over 20% more iron, almost 30% more vitamin C and magnesium, and almost 14% more phosphorus than their non-organic counterparts.
Benefit 3: Organic foods are not genetically engineered
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are contaminating foods due to genetic engineering. Yet, these factors do not have to be labeled for consumers. The only way to ensure they stay out of a senior’s diet is to eat organic.
Benefit 4: Organic animal products do not contain hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful drugs that heighten the risk of cancers and infectious disease
Over 90% of the harmful chemicals humans ingest from foods originate in non-organic animal fats and dairy products.
It’s a cumulative effect – a large fish eats a smaller fish, the smaller fish ate an even smaller fish, the even smaller fish ate a tiny fish, and so forth. When a person eats the larger fish, they’re also eating the toxins that fish and all of his food supply have come into contact with through their life cycles. The same concept applies to other livestock as they consume and collect toxins through feed and then pass those on to humans.
The growth hormones, antibiotics, and drugs are given directly to animals, and consumers are ingesting millions of pounds of disease-causing toxins and unnecessary chemicals each year. Some scientists have estimated that over 70% of the U.S. antibiotic supply goes toward livestock for non-essential purposes, such as to cut down on the amount of feed required to grow sizable animals.
The above processes are not only known to contribute to cancer, many researchers are predicting long-term, widespread consequences such as human antibiotic resistance that could leave many unable to treat infectious processes.
In closing, these are just four of the many health benefits that seniors can enjoy by eating a well-balanced diet full of organic choices. Seniors will find that organic food choices help them to feel like they’re leaving their own eco-friendly mark on the world while getting to enjoy better tasting, healthier, and safer foods.
If your loved one needs help in grocery shopping for organic foods and preparing healthy meals, consider having reliable home care. Tucson families should opt for a renowned senior care agency in their area. This is a great way for seniors to get the help they need without leaving the comfort of home.
Marina Torres is fun loving and loves to blog. She is a storyteller, a foodie and looks forward to anything adventurous. She is a seasoned writer with experience in writing on any topic that catches her fancy. Currently, she is working for Home Care Assistance of Tucson.