When you are suffering from a condition that causes dysphagia or difficultly swallowing food and liquid, staying fit and healthy can be even more of a challenge. When you are unable to eat many foods or stay adequately hydrated due to swallowing problems, your energy levels might drop since fatigue is a common symptom of both dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. Here are some things that you can do to improve your health and fitness with this condition.
Drinking protein shakes can be an ideal way to boost your nutrition and stay fit while suffering with dysphagia. Protein shakes are a rich source of healthy protein which will improve your energy levels and make it easier for you to get motivated to do some gentle exercise. While most protein shakes are generally quite thick and easy to drink and swallow, you may want to consider adding a product like SimplyThick thickener gel to thicken the consistency and make it easier to drink.
When you struggle to eat and drink due to dysphagia, it’s important to avoid intense exercise since this can lead to further dehydration problems that can affect your health. Instead, you may find it easier and more doable to take a gentler approach to your exercise habits. For example, gentle walks, swimming, or yoga might be more feasible while helping you stay fit.
You can make sure that you are getting the right nutrients from your food with a specialist dysphagia diet. There are several levels depending on the severity of your condition. Level one is typically for people with more severe dysphagia and involves blending or pureeing all food to make it easier to follow. Level two involves a mechanical soft diet, which may require some foods to be blended or pureed, along with eating foods that are naturally soft and easy to swallow like scrambled eggs or oatmeal. Level three is more advanced and includes solid foods that are soft and easy to swallow like well cooked vegetables, minced meat and canned fruit. Try to choose high-nutrient, high-energy foods no matter what diet level you need.
Consume High Liquid Content Foods
Liquid consumption is important to keep you hydrated and improve your health and fitness. However, people with dysphagia might struggle to stay hydrated due to the inability or difficulty with swallowing. To stay hydrated, the good news is that water is not the only option – if you struggle to drink and swallow plain water, then you should consume high liquid content meals and foods such as smoothies and soups. These are usually thicker and easier to swallow compared to water alone and will help to keep you hydrated, especially after gentle exercise.
Struggling to swallow your food can lead to issues with your overall health and fitness levels. If you have dysphagia, these simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can make all the difference to staying fit and healthy, which can help you better manage or overcome the condition.