Dysphagia is a condition that is characterized by trouble with swallowing food. Some people who have this condition might find it difficult or even impossible to swallow foods or liquids and it often comes with a heightened risk of choking. While dysphagia is a common condition among seniors, anybody can develop it at any age. It is often the result of a medical treatment or an underlying condition. Malnutrition is unsurprisingly one of the main complications of this condition since trouble swallowing can make it harder to get all the nutrients you need. A soft diet is one of the best ways to help somebody with this condition remain healthy and avoid troubling nutritional deficiencies.
Mechanical Soft Diet
A mechanical soft diet is a type of diet that is designed for people who have trouble with chewing or swallowing food. There are many soft foods that you can eat on this diet that are easier to swallow to prevent the risk of choking or aspiration, which happens when liquids or food particles are breathed into the airways or lungs when eating. It is recommended that people with dysphagia use tools such as food processors, grinders, or blenders to make the food that they eat softer or cut it into smaller pieces that are easier to eat. You can use products such as SimplyThick Easy Mix, a gel that can be added to liquids to thicken the consistency and make them easier to swallow.
Protein shakes may be worth considering for people with dysphagia as they are a good source of protein and other nutrients and can be made quite thick so that they are easier to swallow. Typical protein rich foods like meat, legumes and beans might be difficult for somebody with dysphagia to eat, so a protein shake can be a great alternative that is much safer and reduces the risk of choking without the risk of nutritional deficiencies.
Adding nutrient powders to soft or blended foods can be an ideal option for somebody who is suffering with dysphagia. Finely ground powders can easily be added to smoothies and blended food to ensure that the individual is getting all the nutrients they need if they would otherwise struggle to eat foods that contain these nutrients. Hemp powder, multi-vitamin powder, and spirulina are some examples of nutrient powders that can easily be added and blended into various foods to improve the nutritional value.
Fruit and Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are ideal for anybody who is on a dysphagia diet as they are generally easy to blend making them ideal for swallowing easily. Choose fruits and vegetables that are soft and do not have any pips, seeds or thick skins that might make blending difficult or leave particles that are harder to swallow. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and squash are filled with essential nutrients and are very easy to mash, blend, or make into thicker soups for a dysphagia diet.
Since dysphagia is a condition that causes trouble swallowing, it is important to be extra careful to ensure proper nutrition on a dysphagia diet.