Every day, a significant number of adults are diagnosed with medical conditions that require them to take a pureed diet for some time. But some healthy people just prefer taking pureed foods because of the immense health benefits they pose. In this article, we tour through the advantages of this pureed food for adults and much more.
Pureed foods have a soft and pudding-like consistency, making them palatable and easy to chew and swallow. The meals are also rich in nutrients that support muscles and boost the immune system. Besides, pureed meals enhance your digestive health and absorption process.
What is Pureed Food?
Pureed diets refer to texture-modified diets, whereby all foods are consistently soft and pudding-like. In most cases, a doctor recommends pureed diet to individuals with health conditions that can’t allow them to consume solid foods.
These conditions include;
- Eating and swallowing problems (Dysphagia)
- Dental surgery
- Injury in the throat, mouth, or esophagus
- Oral infections
- Missing teeth
- Digestive disorders
- Bariatric surgery
- Neurological disorders affecting the ability to chew, bite, or swallow. They include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
People with these health conditions obtain all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from pureed foods. Through that, they reduce digestive issues risks and choking.
Types of Foods You Can Puree
You can puree nearly any kind of solid food. However, the approach differs from one meal to the other. Let’s look at some of the solid foods you can puree and how to handle them.
For fruits with outer skin like pears, apples, and peaches, ensure you peel the skin first before you puree them. It helps create a smooth consistency.
With citrus fruits such as grapefruits and oranges, more needs to be done to make them consistently soft. First, you have to peel them. Then remove the stringy membrane and the seeds and run what is remaining through a food processor or a blender.
Some of the best vegetables to puree include cucumbers and carrots. These kinds of vegetables have a starchy exterior. To puree them, peel out the outer skin before grinding or cooking them.
Meat and Fish
Chicken, beef, and fish are among proteins rich in nutrients such as zinc, iron, and vitamin B12. These nutrients and vitamins enhance immune functions while supporting your muscle mass.
The best way to make these solid proteins easily digestible is to combine them with broth, cream, or gravy sauce. That way, you can turn them into soup form.
They include high in calorie and fat content products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Pureed foods with dairy products are ideal for those people who want additional calories.
Legumes like lentils, peas, and beans are the best for pureeing. For them to break down properly, you have to cook them first.
Herbs and Spices
There will be no harm if you include a few spices and herbs in your pureed diet, but then don’t overdo it. Again, you have to reduce the flavors and opt for mayonnaise or thickening agents.
Advantages of Pureed Foods for Adults
Pureed foods bring on the table so many benefits, especially to those people with medical conditions that can’t allow them to swallow any solid foods.
1. Make Food More Palatable for People with Dysphagia
Dysphagia is a medical term referring to swallowing disorders. People with this health condition fail to form food boluses when they eat or experience delays in swallowing. As a result, the risk of breathing in food to the lungs or choking becomes high.
Pureed diets come in handy in helping dysphagia patients attain their nutritional requirements while lowering their risk of breathing in food and choking.
2. Enhances Digestive System Functions
Pureed foods are helpful for most digestive disorders like gastroparesis. This digestive disorder slows down food passage from the stomach into the gut.
Health experts often recommend pureed diets for people with this condition. That’s because liquids tend to leave the stomach faster than solids, making pureed foods most ideal.
3. Best Meal for People with Chewing Difficulties
Generally, pureed diets don’t involve chewing. That’s because the foods are always smooth and ready for swallowing. Therefore, if you have undergone jaw surgery or have a painful tooth, a pureed diet is what you need.
4. Supply Your Body with Wide Nutrient Contents
Pureed diets enable your body to attain the recommended daily nutrient intakes when you cannot consume solid foods. Besides, because of the nature of pureed foods, they tend to be absorbed into the body faster than solid foods. As a result, they give you a quick energy boost.
5. Support Muscles
Food purees contain minerals and vitamins like iron, zinc, and vitamin B12 that enhance a healthy muscle mass.
6. Boosts Immunity
You make pureed food with almost any kind of food. You also have the option of deciding which ingredients to include in your purees, depending on their nutrient contents. As a result, you supply your body with what it needs to maintain a robust immune system.
How to Puree Food for Elderly
The steps of making tasty and smooth pureed foods are pretty simple. Here is what you are going to use:
- A peeler
- Knives for chopping and cutting
- Food processor or blender
- Thickening agents
Even though the steps vary depending on the recipe, the three typical steps are:
Step 1: Prepare your pureed food ingredients. For vegetables and fruits, peel and chop them into smaller chunks. If you are pureeing meat products, portion them into small pieces. Also, remove bones, if any. The purpose is to make it safe for your food processor or blender to crush them consistently.
If need be, cook your food until it is tender and soft. It will help attain smooth and consistent results after crushing.
Step 2: Transfer your bite-sized portions into the food processor or blender for further breakdown.
Step 3: Add to the food some liquid like water or broth to create the correct thickness and texture. Dairy milk, plant-based milk, and vegetable sauce are other nourishing liquids you can use.
If your mixture becomes too watery, use thickeners to attain a more pudding-like consistency. Some of the best thickeners include pectin, cornstarch, potato flakes, and arrowroot powder.
Notes: Always remember that purees are often thicker compared to liquids. Even though you can consume them using a spoon, purees shouldn’t pour out like liquids. The thick consistency lowers the risk of food particles sneaking into the lungs while breathing.
Avoid overcooking the foods to maintain their taste and overall visual appearance. You can incorporate some spices and herbs to enhance the color and flavor of your pureed food.
Nonetheless, if your time doesn’t allow or you lack the necessary tools for preparing pureed foods in your kitchen, feel free to buy the pre-made alternatives.
What to Consider When Selecting Pureed Foods for Adults
Depending on what you aim to achieve, put into consideration the following factors when settling for pureed foods;
Your pureed diet needs to have the same nutrition content as whole foods. It must observe the USDA Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025. For that reason, your pureed diet needs to include all food groups. That’s to mean your diet should contain proteins, starches, vegetables, dairy products, fats, and fruits.
When your loved ones are transitioning to pureed diets, keep an eye on their weight. If you notice a drop in muscle mass, increase in the diet high-calorie foods or proteins.
For instance, you can substitute skim milk with whole milk or use cheddar cheese instead of mozzarella.
Ensure that your pureed food has a soft and pudding-like consistency for palatability. If your puree is watery, add thickeners like arrowroot powder and cornstarch.
Luckily, you don’t need a lot of tools to prepare your pureed meal. However, it takes more time to make the food. Therefore, if your schedule doesn’t allow it, you can save yourself energy and time by purchasing pre-pureed foods.
The only extra cost you may incur with your pureed diet is investing in a quality blender. If you can afford a high-speed blender, the better. But what you already have in your kitchen can still work perfectly fine.
Can Pureed Foods Help You Lose Weight?
Like any other low-calorie diet, pureed diets can aid your weight loss. That’s because they lower your daily calorie intake. However, this is only possible if your pureed foods contain low-calorie ingredients like vegetables and fruits.
Even so, calorie intake restriction is not a long-term strategy for losing weight; lifestyle changes go a long way in achieving long-lasting results.
Yet still, reducing your calorie intake in excess can lead to loss of muscle mass, thus slowing down metabolism. A slower metabolism makes it a challenge to maintain your weight loss. In fact, most people regain their weight after starting to eat solid foods again.
At this point, it is clear pureed foods pose so many advantages to adults and not only kids. Therefore, If your medical condition inhibits you from swallowing solid foods, don’t despair. Pureed diets will give you all the nutrients and vitamins you need and more. Besides, you can puree almost all the meals you love.
Rita C. Donnell (Jennifer) has spent the last 26 years studying and practicing nutrition science. She has used a larger part of this time in improving people’s livelihoods. She has done so by coming up with unquestionable ideas on how to tackle food problems in her community. Readmore