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Are Bananas Healthy for the Elderly?

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Bananas are a common fruit that’s readily available all year long. They’re inexpensive, easy to carry, and simple to eat. Bananas are ideal as a snack or added to breakfast cereals, smoothies, and other meals for a nutritious pick-me-up. Along with nutritional value, the tropical fruit also provides antioxidants and fiber. In general, bananas are a healthy choice for older adults for the following reasons.

Provide Nutrients

Bananas are naturally low in fat. One medium-sized banana contains approximately 105 calories, as well as several vitamins and minerals: 

• Copper – 10 percent of the recommended daily intake 
• Magnesium – 8 percent of the recommended daily intake  
• Manganese – 14 percent of the recommended daily intake 
• Potassium – 9 percent of the recommended daily intake  
• Vitamin B6 – 33 percent of the recommended daily intake
• Vitamin C – 11 percent of the recommended daily intake 

Bananas also provide several compounds, including dopamine and antioxidants in the form of catechins. 

Adding a variety of nutritious fruits and vegetables into meal plans is one of the many ways family caregivers can help their loved ones maintain their health. Families who need help caring for a senior loved one can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Wellesley home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

Boost Physical Health

The potassium in bananas enters the bloodstream and travels to the cells throughout the body. Potassium is vital for cardiac and skeletal muscle function. Blood vessels also need potassium to constrict and relax, which relieves high blood pressure. The antioxidant compounds and vitamin B6 content protect neurons and inhibit the development of cognitive impairment. Bananas provide 360 milligrams of the 4,700 milligrams of potassium the body needs each day.

Promote Gastrointestinal Health

The fiber and moisture content in bananas keep the bowels functioning regularly, which prevents constipation. Fiber also absorbs more moisture during digestion. Thus, the fruit moves easily through the gastrointestinal tract.

Help with Weight Maintenance

The natural sweetness of bananas makes them great to snack on when having a craving for sweets. Bananas are lower in calories than many other less healthy foods that might be tempting to eat. The soluble and insoluble fiber content digests slowly, which makes seniors feel full longer and less likely to overindulge. Eating a banana daily helps older adults maintain a healthy weight or possibly lose a few pounds due to the high fiber content. One banana provides up to 10 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake. 

Seniors may need to add light to moderate physical activity to their lifestyle to make the most of a healthy diet. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of elder care. Wellesley Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.

Potential Negatives

Statistics indicate that 30 to 50 percent of people who are allergic to latex may also experience an adverse reaction to certain plant foods, including bananas. When green, bananas are mainly starch. As they ripen, the starch turns to sugar. Diabetic older adults might question eating bananas. However, they’re a healthy option when consumed in moderation. The fruit is rated on the glycemic index at around 11. Foods with a rating of 10 or less are considered low on the index. On the other hand, foods with a rating of 20 or more are considered high. Bananas are in the middle range, so they’re safe to consume.

Older adults who need assistance with meal prep and making healthy lifestyle changes can benefit greatly from professional in-home care. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Wellesley, Massachusetts, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Schedule a call with one of our friendly Care Managers at (781) 239-0060 today to learn more about our senior care programs.

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