Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month in June by looking at one of the best vegetables to keep stocked. Leafy greens come in a wide variety of options and provide ample nutrients to an older adult’s diet. As her caregiver, check out all of the benefits that come from adding greens to your mom’s meals and snacks.
The Nutritional Benefits of Leafy Green Vegetables
The nutritional benefits of leafy greens vary from one plant to the next. However, expect most greens to contain these vitamins and minerals.
Calcium – Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth. It also makes sure that muscles function correctly.
Folate – Vitamin B-9 or folate is essential in the formation of red blood cells. It also helps cells grow and function properly.
Iron – Iron makes the protein in red blood cells that help with oxygen transportation from the lungs to other areas of the body. It also helps with central nervous system health.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A benefits both your vision and your immune system. It helps with cell growth throughout the body.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is probably the one you’re more familiar with. It’s an antioxidant that helps with iron absorption, tissue repair, and protects against damage from free radicals.
Vitamin E – Fighting free radicals is one of the critical roles vitamin E takes on. The antioxidants in Vitamin E can stop damage to cells caused by things like air pollution or UV rays. It can also help the immune system.
Vitamin K – Blood clotting is one of the biggest roles vitamin K has in the body. It also helps regulate calcium levels, which helps the bones.
Types of Leafy Greens to Keep Stocked
Cooked collard greens are a great side dish with any meal. They’re also very high in many vitamins and contain calcium.
Kale is one of the best leafy greens to keep in the refrigerator. It’s rich in many nutrients and is versatile. Baby kale leaves are great in salads. Larger leaves can have the stems removed and be sauteed or steamed as a side dish. Add the leaves to smoothies, too.
Spinach is a good source of iron. Eat baby spinach leaves in a salad or steam it as a side dish. It’s also one of the easiest greens to grow if your mom and dad enjoy gardening.
The small, peppery leaves of watercress are a great addition to a chicken or tuna salad sandwich. They’re also good in salads.
Ask Your Mom About Her Cooking Habits
Help your mom improve her daily intake of essential vitamins and minerals by making sure she has homecooked meals. If she’s relying on canned or frozen meals because they’re easier to make, it’s time to change that.
How a Professional Caregiver can Help
Caregiver aides can stop by, keep her company, and help her with meal and snack preparation. While the caregiver aides are with your mom each week, she can also have them help with other daily activities like housework, transportation, and personal care. Talk to a specialist to learn more about these and other helpful caregiver services.