Now that autumn is here, many seniors are likely thinking about having some pumpkin pie or another tasty dish prepared with this seasonal fruit. Your aging loved one will be pleased to learn pumpkin offers a variety of health benefits for people over 65. Summit, NJ, at-home care professionals discuss 5 of these crucial benefits.
1. Protects Vision
Pumpkin contains carotenoids, which give the fruit its orange color, and the provitamin A and retinol found in these carotenoids also help prevent degenerative diseases of the retina. The carotenoids known as lutein and zeaxanthin absorb the damaging blue light that enters the eye and causes eye disease. Pumpkins also contain antioxidants that can help protect your loved one’s eyesight and provide therapeutic value to his or her retina.
2. Increases Heart Health
Pumpkins promote a healthy heart and cardiovascular system because they contain high levels of potassium that help seniors maintain healthy blood pressure. Eating pumpkin also helps lower cholesterol levels, which can prevent strokes, heart attacks, and other serious issues. The antioxidants found in pumpkins work with other nutrients that protect the heart, including glutathione, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
3. Facilitates Sleep
Your loved one will likely experience difficulty sleeping as he or she ages, but eating pumpkins can help prevent sleep disorders. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in pumpkins, contributes to sleepiness and is also a precursor to serotonin and the sleep hormone melatonin, which can help your loved one sleep comfortably.
4. Aids in Weight Loss
Due to poor diets and lack of exercise, seniors develop diabetes more than any other age group. However, eating pumpkins can help your loved one lose weight and prevent diabetes and other health conditions caused by obesity. Pumpkins facilitate weight loss because they are full of potassium, low in calories, and contain high levels of fiber, which can help keep your loved one full for longer.
5. Boosts the Immune System
Pumpkins contain the nutrients beta-carotene and vitamin C, which can boost your loved one’s immune system and increase his or her chances of fighting off colds and other illnesses that might lead to more severe health problems. These fruits are also extremely high in antioxidants that reduce the risk of cancer.
For more information on senior nutrition and to find out some healthy recipes you can prepare for your loved one this autumn, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We are a leading provider of live-in and respite home care Summit seniors rely on, and our caregivers can assist with meal prep, take care of grocery shopping, and help with a wide variety of other daily tasks. To learn more about our high-quality in-home care services, call one of our knowledgeable Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a free in-home consultation.