Pantry Provisions – Boosters by R. Ann Parris
Aging has a whole slew of issues, one of them being its effects on our ability to absorb nutrients, which leads to a whole host of vulnerabilities, from our eyes and our bone density to our likelihood of resisting illness and recovery time. Illnesses and conditions that cause foods to pass through our bodies at high speeds create the same effects. Some supplements and medications further impact how well we absorb minerals and vitamins, requiring higher levels of them to meet our needs. Our body also needs higher proportions of some nutrients to replace used or damaged components when we’re ill and injured, from enzymes warped by fever to producing extra plasma and white blood cells.
Some of the most common boosters we may want to consider are proteins (particularly animal proteins and complete proteins), calcium and Vitamin D, and Vitamin C.
There are also the Zicam types, that can help prevent colds and flus, and help limit the experienced symptoms and shorten the amount of time we deal with them, in the form of dissolvable oral tabs and hot or cold drinks.
We might also consider increasing our consumption of the general antioxidant and immune-boosting fruits, vegetables, and drink mixes.
Things like black and green tea that can aid in digestion — making nutrients more available to our bodies and easier to absorb — and supplements such as Culturelle and other pre- and probiotic and gut-health sprinkle-on’s that we can add to our normal foods can also help ensure we’re getting enough of the things we need, and maximizing our use of the nutrients we consume.
While we’re looking at gut health and our ability to absorb foods, and especially when we’re looking at adding supplements, we might also consider things like fiber-boosting drink mixes and snack bars.
Increasing consumption becomes even more vital for longer-period issues, whether it’s getting over a cold and the bronchitis that followed, a bone or joint injury that will take months to completely heal, or permanent conditions like lung damage and aging, particularly of the boosters that help prevent illness.
Weigh The Options
Capsule and tablet forms are fine, but we might also want to consider alternative forms like tea, powdered or pre-mixed drinks, chewy cubes or gummies, or lozenges and pastilles. Nutrient boosts can also be found in forms that replace typical snacks or sides, from fiber- and protein-boosting brownies and cookies, to smaller chewy-caramels or chocolate-disk calcium boosts such as Adora. Many meal- and snack-replacement bars can also help provide calcium, protein, and full suites of vitamins, with options available to meet whatever our calorie, sugar, and ingredient standards may be.
The drinks and meltaway or small chewable “candy” type options can have some significant benefits over “regular” foods and pills.
âž¢ They can be taken even by folks who can’t swallow big pills or a lot of them.
âž¢ They can be appealing and replace snack or treat items with something that serves both morale and medical purposes.
âž¢ They can offer appetite boosts.
âž¢ The drinks can be vital for supportive care in sickbed and some injury situations, and…
âž¢ Some forms can be soothing for specific conditions being faced, such as hot drinks and pastilles with a cold or flu, a cough, etc.
While some supplements and boosters can be expensive, many aren’t terribly so, and many can be found in much more readily affordable forms by hitting the “regular” grocery aisles instead of pharmacy aisles.
Some can also be prepared at home ahead of time, using typical ingredients we keep in.
Re-inventory with a mind for all possibilities
While we’re trying to sort our pantry ahead of the daily disaster that can be getting sick or injured — or caring for a loved one or partner who is — and getting older, don’t forget to also assess what we have and already consider a booster for the potential of developing a sensitivity to it.
There’s a section entirely for sensitivities, but some of the common ones are the inability to handle spicy foods, developing lactose intolerance that renders our bone-boosting milk stash null and void, pollen allergies that likewise render our antibacterial and immuno-building honey counterproductive (again, I am very sorry about that oops), developing such an aversion to the taste of cooked bell peppers that we refuse to eat them, and reactions to anti-caking agents found in even “good” sweeteners like stevia and dried fruits that remove those — and things made from them — from the running.
Also consider how easily accessible those boosters are, whatever situation we’re in, from the time and effort it takes to get into the package and prepare it, to how appealing it is while we’re dragging from tire with a head cold and busted foot/leg/arm further sapping us, and how much we’re likely to consume in a sitting — and from there, how easy it is to set that item aside or package it as leftovers we’ll actually consume later.
It’s not all end-of-the-world dire when age, injury, and illness send our lives into chaos. Even when it is, food fatigue and stress- and fatigue-related issues alter our willingness and our ability to make the most of the foods at our disposal.
Boosters that can help keep us fit, reduce the risk of injury and illness, and make life a little easier on old joints can make a real difference both in preventing something from ever taking us down and in preventing a cascade effect of problems that further reduce our capabilities. As part of our everyday consumption or stashed back solely for our emergency pantries and bags, they’re well worth consideration.