Benefits of Consuming Antioxidants in the Senior Years

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Antioxidants are minerals, vitamins, or proteins in the body that play a role in chemical reactions that protect the body against damage. Selenium, vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are all examples of antioxidants, and they are found in abundance in produce, nuts, and whole grains. Antioxidants offer the following benefits for older adults.

Combats Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress

Over time, body cells and tissues endure oxidative stress that occurs when they are exposed to oxygen molecules with an uneven number of or unpaired electrons, which are known as free radicals. The unstable molecules travel throughout the body while attempting to stabilize by getting rid of the unpaired electron or by taking an electron from other molecules. When free radicals succeed in stabilizing, DNA, cells, and proteins are damaged, age prematurely, and die. Oxidative stress is the reason fruit turns brown, oils turn rancid, and iron rusts. 

Free radicals are naturally present in the body and the environment, and they develop when the body undergoes inflammation, metabolism, and respiration. Consuming alcoholic beverages, exposure to pollutants, sunlight, and X-rays are other means by which free radicals form. 

The damage free radicals cause is irreversible, accumulates over time, and commonly leads to various diseases and medical conditions. However, when seniors consume foods considered rich in antioxidants, they ensure free radical levels remain low, which minimizes potential damage.

If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care Fort Worth, TX, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Boosts Immunity

The results of a study published in a 1997 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association explained the connection between antioxidants and the natural immune system. The study involved a group of adults aged 65 and older. Some of the participants received 60 milligrams of vitamin E daily. Another part of the group received 200 milligrams of the nutrient daily. After four months, the seniors receiving 60 to 200 milligrams of vitamin E boosted their natural immunity by up to sixfold. 

Various studies demonstrated older men taking combinations of beta-carotene, selenium, and other vitamins had fewer incidences of colon, lung, prostate, and skin cancers. Some researchers theorize that men may have lower blood levels of the necessary nutrients, which puts them at a higher risk for developing malignancies.

Protects the Eyes

A 2001 study evaluating eye diseases determined that certain antioxidants protect the vision of older adults. Daily, one group of seniors took supplements containing 15 milligrams of beta-carotene, 500 milligrams of vitamin C, 400 IU of vitamin E, and 80 milligrams of zinc. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) spanned six years and determined older adults who regularly consumed antioxidants had lower incidences of macular degeneration as compared to a control group who received placebos. The adults taking supplements also had lower rates of visual acuity loss. Vision impairment is just one of the many health issues adults experience as they age. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional home care. Fort Worth families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Foods with the highest levels of antioxidants include: 

• Goji berries 
• Blueberries 
• Dark chocolate 
• Pecans 
• Artichokes 
• Elderberries 
• Kidney beans 
• Cranberries 
• Blackberries 
• Cilantro

An antioxidant-rich diet can help seniors stave off many health conditions and boost their overall health. However, some older adults have difficulty preparing healthy meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Fort Worth seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. Call one of our Care Managers at (817) 349-7599 to create a customized in-home care plan.