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Dining Tips for Seniors with Impaired Taste

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Human beings are born with around 10,000 taste buds, but after the age of 50 that number starts to decline. Consequently, many older people don’t enjoy eating as much as they used to. Here are a few ways to make eating more enjoyable for someone who has a reduced sense of taste, presented by Home Care Assistance of West Bloomfield.

1. Try Varied Textures
When a senior has an impaired sense of taste, one thing that can keep eating enjoyable is experimenting with foods of different textures. Small additions to routine meals, like tossing some crackers in a bowl of chowder or adding granola to a Greek yogurt, can make a previously unappealing dish more textually appetizing for your loved one. For a dessert with a pleasing texture, offer your loved one a dark chocolate Lindt ball, which has a thin crunchy layer of chocolate on the outside, and a creamy, smooth filling on the inside.

2. Spice Things Up
Spicy foods have robust flavors that seniors with a reduced sense of taste can enjoy. To incorporate some of these strong spices into your loved one’s diet, try cooking Mexican and Cajun dishes, which are flavored with spices like cayenne, cumin, and coriander, or Indian and Thai curry dishes, which usually feature dried peppers, hot basil, and turmeric. If your loved one isn’t an adventurous eater, consider simply adding hot sauce or red pepper flakes to dishes for a little kick.

3. Try Savory Dishes
A study in Japan found that the taste of umami, or a savory flavor, stimulated the saliva glands, which, in turn, improved the subjects’ ability to taste. Foods with the umami taste include shellfish, cheese, cured meats, and soy sauce, and other foods that are rich in protein and glutamates. For an easy, savory dish, you or your loved one’s hourly caregiver in West Bloomfield might stirfry shrimp and toss with soy sauce. Add a dash of spice to this dish by throwing in cumin or coriander. Serve with brown rice for a healthy and filling meal.

4. Go for Tart, Sour, or Citrus
Foods that are slightly acidic, like citrus or citrus products, pickles, or even Worcestershire sauce, have strong, tart flavors. A squirt of juice or a bit of zest from a lemon or another sour citrus can add a tart punch to a rice dish, and vinegar-based foods, like salad dressing made with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, can give you the opportunity to add a punch of flavor to a healthy salad with berries and nuts.

5. Add Aromatic Herbs
Adding certain herbs like basil, oregano, cilantro, and parsley can add a flavorful pop to a dish without raising your loved one’s blood pressure the way salt does. Whether dried or fresh, these sorts of herbs are easy to toss into a salad, add as garnish to baked salmon, or mix into sauces and dressings. Because of the aromatic nature of these herbs, your loved one’s sense of smell will pick up where his or her sense of taste isn’t enough, meaning that any dish you add these herbs to will be packed with flavor. As an added benefit, these herbs have tons of other health benefits, like brain boosting power, soothing irritable bowel syndrome, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

If your loved one has developed a muted sense of taste, incorporating these cooking and dining tips into his or her meal regimen can help. An hourly or 24-hour home care in West Bloomfield can also help your loved one with transportation to grocery stores and with finding and preparing dishes that work for him or her. To learn more about how a professional caregiver can assist your loved one with these meal preparation tasks, or with other routine activities, call a Care Manager at 248.283.0835 and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.