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Senior hydration tips

The importance of hydration in the elderly

Good hydration in the elderly helps preserve their health. It eliminates toxic substances from the body, or regulates body temperature in the event of a heat wave or high fever. However, the elderly are more likely to be victims of dehydration than the population, with a body water content decreasing by approximately 15% between 30 and 70 years of age. Dehydration results from various factors, such as physiological changes, including a change in kidney function or the perception of thirst. (See article "Hydration in the elderly" for more information)

The role of water and hydration

Water plays many roles in our body: Maintaining blood volume, eliminating toxic substances, transporting nutrients between cells, regulating body temperature, protecting the brain, good brain activity and good physical shape. By favoring good hydration, the elderly will preserve optimal functioning of their cells and organs, and thus age better by staying in shape with a good quality of life.

How to optimize your hydration?

Maintaining a good level of hydration can be difficult, especially after a certain age.

How to go about it ? There is no miracle recipe, but rather some good habits to integrate into our daily routine, which will improve your daily hydration and well-being.

What are the best foods to stay hydrated?

Hydration goes through drink yes, but also through food. Indeed, we see that we consume almost a liter of water a day through the food we eat!

Food is therefore a source that should not be neglected and to ensure that we take full advantage of our meals to hydrate ourselves, here are some tips:

At the top of the list, to promote hydration, we find, unsurprisingly, fruits and vegetables!

Here is the list of fruits and vegetables with the highest water content and according to the seasons:

summer vegetables

winter vegetables

Eggplant

Cucumber

Zucchini

Radish

Pepper

Carrot

Squash

Endive

Turnip

summer fruits

winter fruits

Melon

Watermelon

Strawberries

Tomato

Mandarin

Apple

Pear

Kiwi

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits will allow you to supplement your water needs, thanks to foods rich in water, while providing the vitamins and minerals that the body needs.

Other categories of food such as meats, bread, cereals, are less rich in water, but essential to balance.

Other little advice: Limit diuretic products, which increase urinary secretion, and thus lower the level of hydration: we can cite alcohol, coffee, tea, sodas or sugary drinks.

Finally, here are some starter, main course and dessert ideas to optimize your liquid intake through your diet:

Ideas for moisturizing starters

Ideas for hydrating dishes

Hydrating Dessert Ideas

- Zucchini soup
- Carrot and celery broth
- Gazpacho vegetables from the sun
- Cucumber salad
- Saithe and fried zucchini
- Stuffed tomatoes
- Cod and julienned vegetables
- Vegetable Tian
- Watermelon salad
- White cheese with red fruits
- Banana apple smoothie
- Sorbet

Hydrating drinks:

It is recommended to drink an average of 1.5 liters of water per day, depending on your body type, environment or lifestyle. So, generally more during physical exertion or particular outdoor conditions (cold and dry weather)

But drinking only water can sometimes seem boring, so it is interesting to flavor your water if it can promote fluid intake during the day.

An idea ! Let the fruits and/or herbs infuse in the water overnight and in the fridge, for example cucumber and lemon, strawberries, kiwi, basil, mint and pineapple.

Also think about juices or mixed fruits ! Smoothies, for example, very moisturizing and nutritious, made from fruit juice and fresh frozen fruit, almond or soy milk, and ready in a few minutes. Fruit juices without added sugar are also an interesting option.

Broths are also a good way to hydrate while eating and favored in winter! The idea is to immerse one or more ingredients in boiling water, to flavor the liquid – to serve hot! The water will thus be enriched with vitamins B9, C, and minerals such as calcium or magnesium if the ingredients are based on carcasses or vegetables.

Finally, according to some studies, skimmed milk is a good moisturizer. Beverages that contain small amounts of sugar, fat, or protein hydrate the body more. Milk contains sodium in balanced amounts, helping to retain water longer in the body and promoting hydration.

Other drinks are to be avoided, such as alcohol to begin with, which dehydrates the body. Also, tea and coffee are false friends. The caffeine they contain causing a diuretic effect (notable in case of large doses). Finally, cold sodas are to be avoided. Rich in added sugars, they hydrate our cells less quickly because the glucose arriving in the blood increases the osmotic pressure (transfer of solvent from the least concentrated solution to the most concentrated solution until equilibrium) and thus slows down the passage water to our cells.

Stay hydrated during heat waves and high heat

Maintaining good hydration involves taking drinks, food, and lifestyle.

It is advisable for seniors to drink at least the equivalent of 8 glasses per day, the ideal being a daily consumption of 1.5 – 2L of water per day and this need increases during hot weather.

So remember to have a bottle of water or a water bottle handy. During periods of heat wave, favor waterlogged fruits and vegetables such as cucumber or watermelon. Tip: prepare fruit salads, fruit compotes or sorbets.

If you eat little or less than usual, the decrease in water intake from food must be compensated by higher hydration: Accelerate your hydration with Hydratis tablets (one lozenge in a glass of water), to allow your body to withstand and fight high heat.

Refresh yourself with a fan or a fogger. If you don't have one, opt for slightly cooler showers to lower your body temperature.

Keep the atmosphere cool by closing shutters, curtains or blinds during the day, trying to create drafts.

During your outings, prefer shaded areas, and times such as early morning or evening, with sun protection, light clothing and preferably light-coloured.

Know how to identify the signs of dehydration: headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea or even cramps. If in doubt, increase your hydration, without hesitating to contact your doctor or pharmacist for other advice adapted to your daily life.

The importance of mineral salts in nutrition and hydration

Mineral salts come from rocks and a daily intake is essential for the proper functioning of our body. You may know them, they are calcium, sodium, phosphorus, sulfur, or even potassium. All these salts are necessary and complementary for the proper functioning of the body, and can be found in water and food.

Each of these salts plays an essential role in the proper functioning of our body. Sodium is essential for the proper distribution of water in the body, the regulation of blood volume and blood pressure. It retains water in our tissues and prevents dehydration. Note that too much sodium (= salt) could have harmful effects such as water retention, thirst, kidney dysfunction or even hypertension. It's a fair balance to find. Also, calcium helps regulate heart function or maintains the structure of bones and teeth. Sulfur is very important for maintaining the structure of our cells and would have an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. Finally, magnesium is essential for the synthesis of GABA, a neurotransmitter, ie an element of the brain playing the role of messenger. This messenger promotes relaxation, affecting mood and sleep.

In short, mineral salts are discreet when we talk about our diet or our hydration. And yet, they are the basis of the proper functioning of our body. This is why, in the event of dehydration, a supply of mineral salts will be a real boost for our body, and our mind!

Recommendation to ensure good hydration in the elderly parent:

  • Discuss hydration as a family, its benefits.

  • Be equipped with a water bottle, a bottle of water for the day, and why not provide the glasses with straws to facilitate absorption.

  • Remind your loved ones to hydrate well, rather often and in small quantities.

  • Vary the pleasures with flavored water or fruit juices without added sugar, herbal teas.

  • Favor a soup, broth or soup component during a meal.

  • Have fun by leaning towards foods rich in water, ie by favoring fruits and vegetables.

    List of water-rich foods:

    Food

    water percentage

    Tomatoes, lettuces

    95%

    Fresh fruits, vegetables

    90%

    Apple juice

    87%

    Whole milk

    87%

    Raw meats

    65%

    fresh chicken

    70%

    Cheeses (variable)

    37%

    Fresh bread

    35%

    Butter

    15%

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