How to provide food for the mentally ill?
Beneficial foods for the mentally ill
People with dementia, like many of the mentally ill, have many problems when eating. This is due of their tendency to dispense food, caused by a loss of sense of taste and smell, that determines the food not to be so desired Besides they feel an increasing difficulty in swallowing food.
These patients also lose interest in water. They have a big difficulty in controlling the utensils, so they often seem unable to bring food to the mouth.
To improve these deficiencies, we could take into account the following considerations:
TIPS FOR A SUITABLE FEEDING OF THE PATIENTS WITH DEMENTIA
– Provide simple foods with high nutritional power: easy to eat meals and of high nutritional value are the most important. Among these we could consider, for example, bananas, which contain a lot of energy concentrated in a small area, they do not stain and are easy to chew. Cheese from soy milk (tofu) turns out a good food to provide proteins easy to ingest. Avocado can offer them vegetable fat of very high quality.
– Provide liquids that contain suitable nutrients: This is a good way to avoid dehydration and to provide them with vitamins and minerals. Vegetal juices, like fruit juices, are the most suitable ones. We will avoid those industrial juices or fruit nectars that, by their sugar content addition, only produce more thirst.
– Provide meals that are easy to manipulate: It is important to avoid foods that are too sophisticated and complicated. Instead, prepare simple meals that do not offer any doubts or confusion for a shortly lucid mind.
If possible, the best diet is that consisting in very few dishes. Besides, those meals that contain foods in large pieces or in very tiny pieces, such as varied soups, can be difficult and confusing for the mentally ill.
If we prepare meals with fewer ingredients and suitable textures or adequate sized pieces, we will make it easier for them to eat them. We shall ensure that foods are not too liquid, nor too hard, but those with a certain viscosity that makes it easy to swallow but at the same time, avoid choking. Well-cooked stews, custards or puddings are very useful.
Similarly, you can buy a number of tools and accessories for the table and personal protection, especially designed for this type of patients that will allow them to continue to maintain personal autonomy.
– Provide the suitable atmosphere: It is important not to distract the attention of these mental patients with another type of activities apart from the food. Do not have the TV on or music too loud or too near to attract their attention.
Among the foods adapted for this type of patients we have the following:
– Antioxidant food: Those foods can prevent neuronal degeneration. Among these, we will especially mention:
– Food rich in vitamin C: Citruses (oranges, lemons, grapefruits, etc.), cauliflowers, radishes, brussels sprouts , spinach, bananas, apples, melons, watermelons, carrots, pineapples, pears, papayas, barley, garlic, celery, peas, strawberries, grapes, celery, figs, beans, chicories, bilberries, potatoes, avocado, soybean, cherimoyas, mangoes, pomegranates, coconuts, etc.
– Food rich in vitamin B: The foods of the group of vitamin B generally have a positive effect on the nervous system.
– Foods high in essential fatty acids: This type of fats is necessary for the good operation of the neurons, especially in regard to transmission of nerve impulses. Soybean oils, sunflower seeds oil or oily fish food would be very convenient.
NON RECOMMENDED FOOD
– Sugary foods: Equally, sweets, cakes or any kind of food too rich in refined sugar causes an increase of sugar that can be distressing to these patients.
– Alcohol: In addition to being a strong nervous system depressant, alcohol reduces the ability of neurons by means of reducing nerve impulses between them, which worsens the disease.
More information on the dementia and its natural treatment.