The autumn season is a wonderful time for delicious food, family fun, and the beginning of the holiday season. One of the things that defines this season and is beloved by many people is pumpkin. From pumpkin spice coffee drinks and baked goods to pumpkin ravioli and bread, this beautiful gourd shows up in just about everything during this time of year. As a family caregiver, you might be wondering if indulging in pumpkin is good for your aging parent and other members of your family.
While it is not a good idea to fill up on a lot of sugary treats that say “pumpkin” but are actually mostly artificial flavors and pumpkin spice, there are many benefits to including this actual vegetable in your parent’s diet throughout the fall and even well after. Some of these nutritional benefits include:
From the seeds to the flesh, pumpkins are full of dietary fiber. In fact, one serving of seeds offers about 1.7 grams, while a serving of cooked flesh offers about 3 grams. This essential nutrient creates a lasting feeling of satiety, meaning that your parent will get fuller faster, and feel fuller longer. This can help them to eat less, trimming calories and controlling their weight.
Another benefit of dietary fiber is healthy digestion. Fiber helps to promote regularity, which relieves both diarrhea and constipation and helps to move nutrients through the body effectively. This can improve your parent’s energy levels and reduce the chances of illness. An added benefit of this improved digestion is helping to control blood cholesterol levels.
Controlled blood pressure
Pumpkin seeds contain chemicals called phytoestrogens. These have been shown to have a positive effect on hypertension, meaning snacking on them can help your parent to control their blood pressure and reduce the risk of negative consequences from elevated blood pressure.
Pumpkin, particularly the seeds, contain tryptophan. This is the amino acid that produces the so-called “food coma” that occurs after large meals, particularly Thanksgiving. This amino acid encourages the body to produce serotonin. This neurotransmitter produces a feeling of calm, happiness, and relaxation, helping your parent to sleep better and enjoy a better mood.
Starting elderly care for your aging parent can be one of the best decisions that you can make for them when you are looking for ways to help them live a higher quality of life as they age in place. This elderly home care services provider can evaluate your loved one’s needs and create a personalized set of services specifically designed to address their needs, challenges, and limitations in a way that is right for them. This type of care encourages your senior to stay more active, engaged, and independent, while also staying safe, healthy, and comfortable throughout their later years.
One of the most beneficial ways that they can do this is by encouraging them to get better nutrition. What your loved one eats makes a tremendous difference in how their body functions and their ability to resist health problems and issues. This care provider can help your parent to achieve and maintain better nutrition as they age in place by providing transportation to the grocery store, helping them to select items that are healthy for them, and even assisting with meal preparation to keep their diet varied and full of the nutrients they need to help them thrive.
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