Some seniors may have been vegan before they reached this final stage in life, but is it healthy to continue? Other seniors may be struggling with weight gain and think turning to veganism is the only choice. This diet is much more extreme than becoming a vegetarian and may cause a senior to have nutrients and vitamin deficiencies they need to stay healthy. Going vegan can be safe if a senior understands cooking to get full proteins and get the maximum amount of vitamins needed.
Unfortunately, seniors in their 80s or 90s may not want to cook anymore, leaving this job up to home care assistance. Not all caregivers understand how to cook vegan foods or understand what foods have the vitamins a senior needs. This can make it exceptionally hard for a senior to stay healthy on this type of diet. They may start turning to pre-packaged vegan food, which is not all that healthy for a person. Being vegan does offer some nice benefits, but it may not be the best choice for them.
Plant-based food is generally much more healthy than animal-based products. That may have many people wonder if going vegan is worth it. For some seniors, it may be beneficial to go vegan. However, seniors should always ask their doctor. If a doctor advises against it, they should always listen. Some seniors may be better off eating mostly plant-based, with only a very small portion of their diet being animal-based products. Many studies done by professionals don’t separate veganism and vegetarianism, so it can be hard to identify if veganism does have the same benefits as vegetarianism.
There are some risks a senior may receive by switching to a vegan diet. They may be protein deficient, calcium deficient, vitamin b deficient, and not be eating enough calories a day. Seniors may also lose tons of muscle mass when eating a vegan diet because they are not getting the proper amount of protein. If home care assistance has experience working with a vegan diet, they may be able to work around the food and seniors to ensure they still get a healthy amount of vitamins. Here are some ways to avoid deficiencies.
How to Avoid Calcium Deficiency
Consume calcium-rich plant-based foods such as almonds, dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), figs, tofu, and oranges. A medium-sized orange contains approximately 50 milligrams (mg) of calcium, while a cup of cooked collard greens contains 268 mg. Aim for between 1,000 and 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day.
Eat More Protein
Consume plant-based proteins such as tofu, tempeh, and edamame, legumes (beans, lentils), nuts (walnuts, almonds), chia seeds, and spirulina (blue or green algae). A cup of canned navy beans, for example, contains 20 grams of protein. Chia seeds contain approximately 4.5 grams of protein per ounce, while sunflower seeds contain approximately 6 grams. Daily protein requirements are approximately 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight.
The problem is a senior may have to snack much more to eat the amount they need a day. Some seniors may not feel like eating this much which can make going vegan incredibly challenging.