Senior Health and Carbs: Hey, It’s World Diabetes Day!
Senior health and carbs, do those two words go together? They had better! That is to say, everyone’s body needs carbs in order to get energy and leave protein stores intact.
But seniors and how much carbohydrates they eat, is going to be under discussion soon.
So, let’s give a round of applause for our honorable guest – World Diabetes Day.
What Are You Talking About?
Yes, it’s that time of year again.
What? World Diabetes Day again?
Yes! November 14th will be World Diabetes Day, and the theme for 2018-2019 will continue to be: Family and Diabetes.
Diabetes can affect people of any age. But the percentage of American seniors who have diabetes was calculated to be 25.2%. (That figure includes both diagnosed and undiagnosed people.) That was the case in 2015, when the last major research was carried out.
What Do You Mean? Are We Celebrating Diabetes?
Well, we are not exactly celebrating diabetes. It’s more like we are celebrating the fact that people get an opportunity to learn more about diabetes.
World Diabetes Day is a day dedicated to educational activities, distribution of materials and encouraging people to check their blood sugar levels.
Across the globe, educational and fun events are planned, with the aim of making people more aware of the fact that diabetes exists. Additionally, people can understand how serious diabetes is. Most importantly, people discover that diabetes is treatable and, in some cases, preventable.
But it can only be prevented if a person is aware of the nature of diabetes.
Some activities from the International Diabetes Federation and Others
Ways to celebrate World Diabetes Day
So, What About Seniors and Carbs?
As we said, seniors need carbs, just like everyone else. However, seniors have a lower tolerance for glucose.
There are different reasons as to why seniors process carbohydrates more slowly than previously.
Dr Susan Saffel-Shrier, regarding senior health and carbs suggests:
- The body’s insulin works less effectively with ageing
- The pancreas produces insulin in a reduced manner
- BMI (body-mass-index) often rises with age
- Seniors tend to exercise less
What is a Low Carb Diet?
Instead of eating carbs, a senior can substitute with nutritious alternatives. This will retain the muscle mass, which is all-important. If you are looking into senior health and carbs there are some things you will find in a low carb diet:
- Healthy protein, some example eggs, oily fish, raw nuts, not processed meats
- Lots of healthy fresh and cooked vegetables
- Mediterranean fats such as olive oil, yummy avocados
- Some fruit, the fresh variety, not dried fruit which is high in sugar
What Can a Low Carb Diet Do for a Senior?
A low carb diet might be better for seniors. Each individual has to speak to their doctor, because we are all different. Keeping to a low carb diet means the body can process the meals eaten more effectively. There will be less sugar hanging around in the blood for a long time.
Some pluses of low carb diet:
- Better quality of life
- Potentially longer life
- Better digestion
- Maintain better blood sugar levels throughout the day
- Leave a person feeling more energetic by day
- Cut down on sugar cravings
- Help control cholesterol
- Assist in weight control
- Ability to think more clearly
Things to watch out for in a low carb diet. Check that:
- Sufficient minerals are consumed
- Enough calories are consumed
- Not to lose muscle mass
- A healthy weight is kept, not too low
- A lot of protein might be a risk for liver patients
- Sufficient fiber in the diet
- Mood may be affected
The Real Point is….
You need to speak to your doctor and dietician. The reason for this, is that the amount of carbs that any individual needs, depends on many things. The list includes: individual age, activity level, weight control factor, ability to stick to a healthy eating plan, and other items.
Seniors should probably not be getting their carbs from sweet breakfast cereals, chocolate milk, cakes and chocolates.
Contact organizations such as the American Diabetes Association. They can provide explanatory materials and books that can help you improve what you eat. But maintain contact with your dietician, so that you do what is right for you! The main point is that a person can learn about healthy eating and managing diabetes.
The final word is that diabetes is a major senior health issue. However, senior health and carbs is not where diabetes stops, that is where it begins. A lifelong awareness and healthy approach to eating is what preventing and treating diabetes is all about.
Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash
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