Healthy eating and nutrition at Birchwood House
At Birchwood House, we understand that good nutrition plays a vital, protective role in a number of age-related conditions including cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline and can help to protect oral and dental health, and bone and joint health in later life. We also know that it’s not unusual for elderly people to experience a change in metabolism and appetite, which can lead to malnutrition – causing either weight gain or loss. This may give rise to a number of complications – from a weakened immune system and lower energy levels to chronic health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.
It has been estimated that malnutrition can result in:
- 65% more GP visits
- 82% more hospital admissions
- 30% longer hospital stay
We aim to provide our residents with the essential sources of nutrition for them to feel as healthy and fit as possible.
A good diet should include elements of the following:
- ‘Good’ fats; a source of essential fatty acids and include oily fish, cheese, avocado, vegetable oils and peanut butter
- Carbohydrate: a useful source of energy and fibre helps to prevent constipation; wholegrain breakfast cereals, brown rice and pasta, wholemeal bread, fruits and vegetables, potatoes and pulses such as lentils
- Protein: important for building and repairing body tissues, especially as we get older. These can be found in dairy products like milk, cheese and yoghurt, meat and poultry, eggs and pulses. These also provide calcium, important for preventing osteoporosis.
Birchwood House’s head chef, Anne, prepares fresh home-cooked meals daily which are not only delicious, but offer residents a diet that is varied and nutritious, but also designed to suit individual preferences and requirements – diabetic, vegetarian and so on. Four smaller meals are offered across the day – as well as mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks – to keep blood sugar and energy levels up, and since the kitchen is open 24/7, residents never need feel hungry.
‘Our fruit and vegetables are supplied by a local grocer and we cook with seasonal ingredients when we can’, explains Ann. ‘We also serve a different home-baked cake every afternoon – and if it’s your birthday I will bake your favourite cake!’
These are just some of the little touches that make Birchwood House so special.
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