When it comes to ensuring a person with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is well hydrated, Alzheimer’s caregivers may have many daily trials (particularly if you are caring for a loved one with dementia).
Water is the most essential nutrient the body requires. But, what if your loved one with AD refuses to drink enough fluids? It can be very worrisome, particularly when the outdoor temperature begins to rise in summer months.
According to Rachel Berman, registered dietician, “Our bodies are made up of more than half water and we use it for pretty much every bodily function — from regulating body temperature to removing waste to lubricating joints to carrying oxygen to the cells.” “That’s why you feel so fatigued, dizzy and moody when you’re dehydrated.”
If your loved one with AD refuses to drink enough, there are other ways to help him/her stay hydrated. Many foods contain very high levels of water. If flavoring the water with lemon, cucumber or infusing it with fruit doesn’t do the trick, you can encourage water rich foods as part of the daily meals.
Fluid Rich Foods
The average person gets around 20% of his/her fluid requirements from food. But, some foods are better than others when it comes to hydration. Next time your loved one refuses to drink, try these foods:
•Watermelon-comprised of 92% water, studies show that the salt, magnesium and calcium in watermelon make it the perfect fluid for hydrating the body.
•Celery-contains about 95% water, fiber and minerals, including potassium and vitamin K.
•Cucumbers-made up of 96% water, high in vitamin B6, vitamin K and iron.
•Strawberries-contain 92% water (higher than blueberries, blackberries or raspberries), high in fiber and vitamin C.
•Lettuce-iceberg lettuce is around 96% water, it can be used to hydrate the body by including it in a salad, topping a sandwich, or using it in place of bread in a roll-up. Other greens can be used in place of iceberg, including Romaine, spinach, or Bibb lettuce.
Unique Beverages for Hydration
Provided you select a non-alcoholic beverage, (even coffee) it counts toward the daily intake of fluids. Here are some unique ideas for good tasting beverages to help boost the daily fluid level:
Fruit Smoothies-making smoothies for your loved one with AD is one way to increase the fluids for the day. You can add favorite fruits, juices, almond milk, coconut water, in whatever combination best suits the taste buds. Consider unique flavors such as pineapple papaya, or even a watermelon mint smoothie. In addition to improving hydration, supplements such as protein powder, ground flax seeds, or others can be added to smoothies. The options are endless.
Coconut water is low in carbohydrates and added sugar while rich in potassium. Studies in sports and medicine have shown that coconut water is effective at rehydrating after light exercise.
Although coffee has notoriously been considered a diuretic, a recent study found that coffee does NOT cause dehydration. Coffee has been found to sharpen memory and boost endurance. A cup of coffee per day may also be beneficial to brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention.
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