At Wickshire Senior Living, we understand the unique nutritional needs of older adults. Our dining services provide nutritious and delicious dishes. The chefs take special dietary requirements into account for each resident. We often recommend that clients consider the health benefits of probiotics for seniors. While it’s important to discuss any dietary changes with a qualified physician, many older adults benefit from helpful microbes that improve digestion and other bodily functions.
What Are Probiotics?
When you take probiotics, you’re ingesting live microorganisms that may benefit your health. Many people already know about and enjoy probiotics in fermented foods such as yogurt. Others take dietary supplements or use beauty products with probiotics. Notably, not all bacteria negatively affect the body.
Microbes in our bowels help you fight pathogens and digest food. However, they may also impact hormonal function and mood, among other things. Your intestines include many kinds of yeasts and bacteria. In fact, you may have several pounds of microorganisms in your gut. That’s billions of individual bacteria and other flora.
Unsurprisingly, all those microbes serve a crucial function. Without them, your digestive and immune systems could not work effectively. If you suffer from constipation, bloating, and diarrhea, you may have an imbalance in the microbes in your gut.
How Do Probiotics Help Older Adults?
Here are some of the benefits of adding probiotics to your diet:
- Reduce frequency of diarrhea
- Improve heart health
- Alleviate conditions such as lactose intolerance, skin allergies, and issues with digesting sugar
- Reduce vaginal inflammation that results from excessive bacteria
- Improve bad breath
Helpful Probiotics for Seniors.
We have included some of the probiotic strains considered helpful for older adults. It’s essential to seek advice from a qualified medical professional prior to making significant dietary changes. This is especially true for older adults.
Here are a few examples of probiotics that can help your body function optimally:
- Lactobacillus acidophilus-This strain balances bacteria that accumulate due to antibiotics or illness.
- Lactobacillus fermentum-These probiotics help prevent upper-respiratory and gastrointestinal infections.
- Bifidobacterium animalis ssp. Lactis-These bacteria help boost your immune system by fighting infection and producing necessary chemicals your body needs.
- Lactobacillus casei/paracasei-If you have inflammatory bowel disease. These probiotics can alleviate bloating, cramping, constipation, or diarrhea.
- Lactobacillus plantarum-This strain helps your body produce vitamins and stimulates your digestive system.
These examples show you the diversity of microbes in your gut and the importance of maintaining them.
Making a Healthy Decision for Your Diet
Are you researching your own gut health or looking into probiotics to supplement the diet of your loved one? Look for supplements with the probiotic strains above, or talk to your physician for advice on the best options.
These foods are rich in probiotics:
- Kefir (fermented cow or goat’s milk)
- Kimchi (Korean fermented cabbage)
- Miso (made of fermented soybeans)
- Certain cheeses (Depending on the fermenting process, cottage cheese, cheddar, and mozzarella may have helpful probiotics.)
When choosing probiotics for seniors, it’s important to remember that older adults have unique dietary needs. There is a little-understood connection between gut flora and your brain.