When it comes to protecting your elderly loved one’s health, one of the best methods is an antioxidant-rich diet. Antioxidants are molecules that help prevent free radicals from oxidizing, or harming, healthy cells. Free radicals are linked to a number of chronic diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, various cancers, cataracts, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care in Tampa, shares to following information on some of the best antioxidants and how you can help your loved one incorporate sources of each into daily meals.
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA)
ALA is a powerful antioxidant that helps the body absorb other antioxidants more efficiently. In seniors, ALA is especially noted for its anti-inflammatory effects that combat symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease–this is the only antioxidant directly absorbed by the brain. Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil are the best sources of ALA.
Carotenoids are responsible for the rich colors of many fruits and vegetables. Beyond aesthetics, these antioxidants help maintain healthy blood circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and protect against cancers and various brain diseases. Carrots, grapes and squash are top providers of carotenoids.
Research on the benefits of green tea helped highlight the numerous positives provided by EGCG. EGCG is an antioxidant that fights cellular damage that can lead to premature aging and cancer. Like ALA, EGCG is also thought to promote brain health. Any senior looking to improve cognitive function may benefit from EGCG, but it may be especially helpful for loved ones with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
Lycopene is crucial in preventing heart disease, a chronic illness that seniors become more susceptible to as they age. Found in tomato products, this antioxidant also reduces the risk of prostate cancer.
Noted for its abilities to help ward off illnesses, vitamin C is also one of the most powerful types of antioxidants. This nutrient is essential for basic blood vessel and bone function, and it also helps to protect body proteins. When consumed regularly, seniors are less likely to get sick and develop related illnesses. Fresh produce is the best source, with citrus fruits, red bell peppers, strawberries and broccoli containing high levels of vitamin C.
Vitamin E is another antioxidant known for maintaining healthy skin. It also helps reduce cellular damage that can lead to diseases of the eyes. Nuts and vegetable oils are the best sources, but make sure you serve small amounts, as these are also high in calories and fat.
Interested in learning more about senior health and wellness? Reach out to Home Care Assistance at (727) 330-7862. We are a leading provider of senior care, including dementia, Alzheimer’s, and post-stroke care in Tampa. Our caregivers are available on an hourly or live-in basis to help with errands, grocery shopping, preparing healthy meals, basic housework, medication pick up and reminders, encouraging physical activity and socialization, and can offer companionship and emotional support.