June is National Dairy Month and it’s a great time to remember why dairy foods are so healthy for seniors. Seniors should be eating more dairy foods, if they aren’t vegan. Dairy products are full of nutrients that seniors need. In general, dairy products are inexpensive, easily accessible, and delicious. Eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese, cheese, and milk are all great foods for seniors to eat.
Since most dairy foods don’t need to be cooked or are easy to cook, they are perfect for seniors who may have trouble lifting heavy pans or cooking meals for themselves. Seniors that have home care can also get help cooking things like eggs from a home care provider.
Calcium is something most seniors don’t get enough. Seniors need calcium to help prevent osteoporosis and to keep their bones healthy and strong. When seniors have osteoporosis their bones can become brittle and break easily. If your senior loved one has brittle bones and falls they could end up breaking a bone that will take months to heal. Eating dairy foods or drinking milk daily is a good way for seniors to get the calcium they need to protect their bones.
Another nutrient that seniors are usually lacking in their daily diet is protein. Typically that’s because the highest amounts of protein are found in meat. Seniors often have trouble cooking meat because it can be difficult to cook if seniors can’t properly handle hot pans or if they have trouble lifting pans. Meat can also be tough for seniors to cut. Having a home care provider can help with preparation. In some cases dairy foods have as much or more protein than meat. Eggs have about 7 grams of protein each. Cottage cheese can have more than 20 grams of protein per cup. Yogurt has about 17 grams of protein per cup. Cheese even has protein, too.
Vitamin D is something that seniors can only get from food. It’s an essential vitamin that helps boost the immune system and keep seniors healthy. It can also help seniors maintain a healthy positive mood.
Vitamin D is found in many dairy foods, especially in milk. Another benefit of Vitamin D is that it helps improve bone density in the bones and the teeth. If your senior parent still has natural teeth Vitamin D can help protect those teeth. Seniors who can tolerate milk should drink at least one glass of milk each day.
Potassium is a vital nutrient that helps protect the heart. Potassium can help seniors who have high blood pressure keep their blood pressure stable. It can also help maintain a good electrolyte balance and improve the function of the immune system. There aren’t a lot of foods that have potassium in them naturally but milk is a popular food that contains potassium. Is your senior parent drinking milk every day? They should be!