Dysphagia is a condition that causes trouble with swallowing. Some people with this condition find it impossible to swallow foods or liquids, and there is an increased risk of choking. It is most common in seniors, although anybody can develop dysphagia at any age due to a range of underlying conditions or medical treatments. One of the main complications of this condition is malnutrition. Sticking to a soft diet can help you or a loved one with this condition stay healthy and avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Mechanical Soft Diet
A mechanical soft diet can be used for anybody who has trouble with chewing or swallowing. There are various soft foods that can be eaten on this diet that are easy to swallow and will help to prevent choking or aspiration, which involves breathing in food particles or liquids. You can use tools like grinders, food processors, or blenders to make food softer, smaller and easier to eat on this diet. Liquids like hot beverages, juices or soups can also be made easier to swallow using a product like SimplyThick thickener gel.
Nutrient powders can be an ideal way to ensure that you or a loved one with dysphagia is getting all the nutrients necessary while struggling to swallow food or liquid. Nutrient powders like multi-vitamin powders, hemp powder, or spirulina are packed with goodness and can easily be blended into foods like smoothies or soups that are easy to eat and swallow, while being barely noticeable.
Fruits and Vegetables
The good news for anybody on a dysphagia diet is that fruits and vegetables are some of the easiest food items to blend and swallow. Squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, or cauliflower can easily be well-cooked and mashed or blended to make them easier to swallow and they are filled with nutrients. Avocado is another good food item to consider adding to your plate as it is soft and smooth, easily blended, and packed with healthy fat and vitamins.
Protein shakes might be another item to consider adding to your diet or the diet of a loved one with dysphagia. Since this condition can often make it difficult to eat typical foods that are packed with protein such as meats like chicken or beans and legumes, a protein shake can be an ideal way to ensure that you are getting your recommended daily intake. You can also easily make the protein shake thicker and easier to swallow by simply adding less water or milk to the powder before blending.
Healthy yogurts like natural Greek yogurt are naturally thick and creamy making them an ideal choice of food to ensure that your body is nourished while suffering with dysphagia. Look for a good Greek yogurt that has at least three to five active cultures to promote gut health and improve your nutrition. Yogurts can be blended into smoothies or soups, added to boiled or canned fruits that are soft and easy to eat, or eaten on their own.
Dysphagia can often make it hard to give your body the right nourishment as many foods are hard to swallow. Adding nutrient-dense foods that are easy to blend, mash, or soften will help you avoid further health complications.