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Softer Foods for the Over-60s Folks

Food texture will become a growing consideration over the next 20 years with an estimated population of more than one billion people over the age of 60, a new paper suggests.

Yet, changing food texture can affect nutrients in foods, Dr Julie Cichero, University of Queensland, wrote in the Journal of Texture Studies.

Adding nutrient-dense moistening ingredients like milk, cream or butter and making foods with soft, easily broken fibres should all be key considerations for manufacturers targeting our ageing population.

Dr Cichero noted that swallowing difficulties caused by dry mouth, reduced muscular strength, dental loss and reduced laryngopharyngeal sensitivity can occur as a result of age.

“Taken in combination these factors mean that food textures prescribed to the elderly need to be soft and moist and for fibres to be easily broken,” she said, adding the ideal bolus would be moist, cohesive and slippery.

“To improve moisture content, additional nutrient dense products (such as milk, cream or butter) may be required to artificially moisten the bolus.”

However, the aim is not only safety – food appeal and nutritional value is also crucial. Finding a range of ‘swallow safe’ textures to make food appealing, yet palatable and nutrient-dense is key, Dr Cichero added.

“Careful, individualized attention to diet recommendations will result in a diet that is appealing and also provide a variety of textures that are swallow-safe and nutrient dense,” she said.

The ideal bolus

The ideal bolus is homogenous in texture, though size and moisture content depends on the kind of food consumed.

Softer foods like banana can be tolerated with larger particle sizes, Dr Cichero said, though hard food stuffs generally need to be chewed until particles are smaller.

Since moisture content needs to be higher for the elderly, some foods are inherently riskier, for instance cereal-based foods which need around 50% moisture content to be palatable.

“The final swallow-safe bolus is soft, homogenous in texture, cohesive and slippery enough to allow ease of swallow initiation and swift transport through the pharynx,” Dr Cichero said.

Source: Wiley Online Library

How Older People Can Head Off Dangerous Drug Interactions

Potentially serious drug interactions are a daily threat to older people who take multiple medications and supplements, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

One drug can affect the effectiveness of other drugs and how your body uses them. For example, your kidney and liver may not work as well, which affects how drugs are broken down and leave your body, the FDA said.

“There is no question that physiology changes as we age. Many chronic medical conditions don’t even appear until our later years,” Dr. Sandra Kweder, an FDA medical officer, said in an agency news release. “It’s not that people are falling to pieces; some changes are just part of the normal aging process.”

The FDA says these safety tips will help prevent harmful drug interactions or side effects:

  • Follow your doctor’s directions. You shouldn’t take drugs that your doctor doesn’t know about. Follow your prescription. Don’t skip or change your dosage even if you feel fine or think the medicine isn’t working. Let your doctor know if you develop symptoms or side effects. “Medication can’t work unless you take it,” Kweder said. “For instance, medications that treat chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes typically only work when taken regularly and as directed.”
  • Keep a medication list. Jot down the brand and generic names along with doses and instructions for all drugs you take, and keep this list with you at all times. If anything changes, update your list. Consider giving a copy to a friend or relative in case of emergency, especially when you travel.
  • Learn about possible drug interactions and side effects. Some drugs affect how others work and some interactions are dangerous. Even over-the-counter (OTC) drugs or herbal remedies can affect how your medicines work. Alcohol can, too. It’s important to read the drug-facts label on medications and any special instructions from your doctor. If you have more than one doctor, tell each one about all prescription, OTC drugs and supplements you take. Your pharmacist can also explain possible side effects and drug interactions.
  • Routinely go over your medication list with your doctor. This will help ensure that all drugs and supplements you take are still necessary and appropriate. Let your doctor know if you can’t afford any of your medications. Sometimes there are cheaper, yet effective alternatives. Let your doctor know if you think any medication isn’t working.

“As a society, we have become reliant on pharmaceuticals to help us attain a longer and higher-quality life. It’s a wonderful success of Western medicine,” Kweder said. “The goal should be for each of us to access that benefit but respect that medicines are serious business. To get the most out of them, you should take them with great care and according to directions.”

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Read more at Harvard Health Publications:

7 things you can do to avoid drug interactions . . . . .

Stuffed Pancakes Balls with Spiced Apple

Ingredients

Batter

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1-1/3 cups buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
5 egg whites
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Filling

1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 Tbsp firmly packed light brown sugar
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and grated
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Maple Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp salt

Method

  1. To make the filling, in a fry pan over medium heat, cook the butter, brown sugar, apples, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon juice, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes. Drain off any liquid. Set aside.
  2. To make the maple whipped cream, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat together the heavy cream, maple syrup and salt until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. To make the batter, in a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, granulated sugar and salt. In another bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the buttermilk and sour cream. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the flour mixture until well combined; the batter will be lumpy. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until stiff but not dry peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir the whites into the batter in two additions.
  5. Brush the wells of a ebelskiver pan with melted butter. Heat over medium heat until the butter bubbles. Pour 1 Tbsp batter into each well and cook for 2 minutes. Spoon 1/2 tsp apple filling into the center of each pancake and top with 1 Tbsp batter. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown and crispy, about 2 minutes more. Using 2 skewers or toothpicks, flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and crispy, about 3 minutes more. Transfer the pancakes to a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on the pancakes. Serve with the maple whipped cream. Makes about 30.

Source: Williams-Sonoma Cookbook


In Pictures: Pancake Balls


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