Friday, October 18, 2019

Food to Make You Feel Better

Today, I'm sharing a post from The Weekend Gourmet's correspondent. Hospital stays are never fun...but eating right when you return home can help speed  the recovery process. This feature shares information for the best types of foods to help enhance post-illness recovery.
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay 

Hospital food has a bad reputation, because many patients complain about its taste and quality during their hospital stay. There's not a lot that you can do about that -- other than asking family and friends to bring a bit of your favorite foods to your room. However, once you're out of the hospital, you eat whatever you want. However, there are some foods that are better nutritionally for you than others -- which will help you feel better quicker. 

Some people require hospital discharge care, which may include post-discharge meals. These meals can help to reduce hospital re-admissions and keep patients healthier -- especially those who are unable to prepare their own meals after leaving the hospital. It's important to eat well, though, because it helps patients regain their strength and energy faster. This is key for better recoveries.

Whether you're making your own meals or caring for someone else -- unless the hospital has given you guidelines for specific foods to eat -- there are general nutritional guidelines you can follow. As we all know, eating the right foods and getting plenty of water can help a person recover from a hospital stay and prevent complications like dehydration and constipation. But what do we mean by eating the "right foods?"

Fiber can help keep you or the patient regular and may prevent long-term issues such as intestinal problems and diabetes. High-fiber foods include whole grain bread, fresh fruits and vegetables (fresh or frozen), oatmeal, and certain cereals (check the label for fiber content). 

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables -- such as apples, blueberries, broccoli, and sweet potatoes -- all contain numerous vitamins, antioxidants, calcium, iron, and other key nutrients that are essential for healthy living, bone building, and cell recovery.

Chicken, pork, and fish are all lean proteins that are important for helping build and repair cells, prevent the loss of muscle mass, maintain fluid balance, and improve the body's healing process. However, red meat might need to be avoided during recovery from an illness, because it can cause constipation and contains high levels of saturated fats. If you or the patient are vegetarian, then choose non-animal sources of protein such as beans, soy products like tofu, and nuts. 

Dairy products are also a good source of protein, but it's best to stick with low-fat dairy products like skim milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Yogurt is an especially good choice, because it is rich in calcium and may contain good bacteria that can help with digestion.

Eggs are another good option, because they are low in calories and contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals -- including vitamin D.
Make sure that you or the patient eats whole foods rather than processed products -- which usually have higher amounts of fat, sugar, salt, and chemical additives. It's also important to make sure you or the person you're caring for does actually eat. They may not have much of an appetite or may struggle to chew, but failing to eat can slow recovery. If chewing is a problem, smoothies made with yogurt, skim milk, and some fresh fruit can be a good option. If more calories are needed, then try using cream or whole milk instead of skim milk in the smoothies. You can also add avocados to the diet and boost the amount of protein consumed. 

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