The Sinhala and Tamil New year is a celebration of harvest, sweet meats, happiness and plentiful blessings for the upcoming year. A time to spend with family and cherish old memories, of course whilst maintaining health guidelines, and share comfort from the knowledge ‘that we got past the challenges from the year that passed.’ It is also a time to indulge in scrumptious traditional sweets; that are either shop bought or made at home; the fun of sharing plates of food with your neighbours and family member that may include kokis, kevum, aluwa, asmi, bananas and creamy delicious kiribath!
However, it is important to monitor ones ‘Avurudu indulgence’ as unhealthy eating and over indulgence during festive seasons have harmful consequences such as reducing the body’s ability fight off infections, most of all worsening the impact of chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure and increase blood sugar levels in the elderly especially.
Medical Nutritionist, Dr Senani Ranaweera says, “Nutrition is an important aspect of our lives. What we ingest, digest, absorb and utilise supports us with a good quality of life. With our fast paced lifestyle we may assume that eating healthy is tough, however good nutrition even during a celebratory time can be achieved”. Thus, Dr Ranaweera shares a few tips on how we can make our Avurudu healthier this year for you and your elderly loved ones
Having guilt-free moments to indulge is important, but how much and how often you treat yourself depends on your overall health especially the elderly. It is important to cut down calories through fat and sugar to prepare for the Avurudu week. Limiting the intake of fried food, fat portion control in your main meals, whilst increasing intake of fruits and non-starch vegetables.
- Be mindful the week before and after
Being mindful the week before and after Avurudu can be a useful strategy to manage the impact of the sugar rich, oily food. For example, avoiding your Sunday slice of butter cake this week as you know that you will be diving into another two next week is a useful tactic.
- Skip the sugar in your tea.
According to Dr Ranaweera, tea is a good antioxidant for our body, however when consumed with sugar we are introducing more unnecessary calories into our diet. Thus, avoiding your teaspoon full of sugar, at least for the Avurudu season, will help limit the amount of refined sugar intake.
- Add some Sri Lankan leafy greens
Inculcating Sri Lankan fresh greens such as Gotu kola, Thebu kol and Karavila, mixed with some onions and lemon – sambol style, can be an interesting taste tantaliser as well as a good form of controlling blood sugar levels with their rich bioactive compounds.
- Exercise and hydration!
Maintaining an active lifestyle with some movement is important and beneficial, even for the elderly, to manage health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure along with improving ones overall health. Ensure that the momentum is kept up even during the holiday season to burn off the excess calories. Similarly, hydration is vital for the good function of our organs, including digestion, maintaining blood pressure and delivering oxygen throughout the body.
Making a few healthier and mindful tweaks in our daily routine in preparing for Avurudu will have a positive impact on our bodies in the long-term, where being healthy is paramount. Nevertheless, enjoy this joyful time with your family and friends, make wonderful memories during this short time as life is all about happiness and celebration!
Nutrition for the Elderly at English Nursing Care
At English Nursing Care nutrition is an important aspect of improving the health and quality of life of elderly loved ones. The team work with specialists to observe good nutrition is provided for from groceries, preparation and consumption. English Nursing Sri Lanka is an advocate to celebrate life with positivity, compassion and kindness, by offering holistic services to take care of your loved ones with dignity and love in the comfort of their home. English Nursing guarantees peace of mind for the elderly client as well as family often living far away. For further information on English Nursing Care, visit their website www.englishnursing.com or call +94 11 4500117.