While hospitals and health clinics are designed to help patients recover from recent injuries or illness and get back on their feet, there’s little doubt that the healing process can be a trying one. Whether patients are staying in the hospital for brief visits or extended periods of time, the combination of their physical ailments and healthcare environment can leave many individuals feeling depleted and withdrawn. This can be especially problematic for patients who need plenty of energy to regain their strength and make it through treatment and therapy avenues.
Luckily, hospital food service managers can play their part in helping people recover by adding plenty of delicious food choices to the cafeteria kitchen menu that can also naturally boost energy levels. Not only can this help patients get the nourishment they need to heal, but it can also be a great way to lift their spirits. Here are some basic nutrients and foods that can make a world of difference in regaining natural energy levels for great patient satisfaction.
Blueberries packed with antioxidants
The best way to encourage patients to try foods that will increase their energy levels is by incorporating tasty food choices that they would likely eat anyway. Because of this, food service management should consider highlighting the delicious and nutritious benefits of blueberries. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, which are effective agents for combating the corrosive damage of free radicals in the body. As free radicals have also been associated with certain types of cancer and even Alzheimer’s disease, the advantages of antioxidants found in blueberries go beyond a simple pick-me-up.
Another great nutritional benefit of blueberries is that they contain low levels of natural sugar, unlike many other types of fruit that are loaded with sugar. Because of this quality, blueberries are less likely to cause sudden peaks and valleys in alertness due to a sugar rush and subsequent crash.
Fatty fish for omega-3s
While fat is generally considered a bad thing in the world of nutritional dietary planning, the body does require certain levels of good fat to function. One of the best ways to incorporate beneficial sources of fat into patients’ meals is by featuring a variety of fatty fish on your hospital kitchen menu. Seafood like salmon, mackerel, tuna and herring are all jam-packed with omega-3 fatty acids.
These nutrients are ideal for reducing inflammation throughout the body, which has been linked to enhancing mental power and minimizing the draining effects of depressive symptoms. The combination of mental and physical stress can take a heavy toll on natural energy levels, as depression and anxiety can lead to exhaustion. Similarly, inflammation of the brain can quickly cause patients to feel tired and unmotivated. The omega-3 fatty acids found in many forms of cold-water fish can help give patients a jump start.
Whole-grains and leafy greens for magnesium
Maintaining the health and functionality of the digestive system is essential for preserving natural energy levels. If patients’ stomachs and intestines are not able to sufficiently absorb nutrients found in the meals hospital food service managers are providing them with, then chances are their recovery will be slow. For healthcare organizations looking to enhance the strength of the digestive tract for greater patient vitality, foods that are rich in magnesium are a great choice. These include many leafy, green vegetables like kale or spinach as well as whole-grain breads.
Like omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium is a substance that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body, particularly in the cardiovascular and digestive systems. Patients who get enough magnesium in their diets are more likely to enjoy healthy blood circulation and nutrient absorption, allowing them to regain their strength more quickly during their recovery period.