The medical term that is used when a person has trouble swallowing is dysphagia. It may occur when someone has an underlying medical condition, such as weakened muscles due to aging, surgery, a neurological disorder or a stroke. Each of these issues can impact the ability a person has to swallow normally.
Swallowing is something that requires many muscles and nerves to work together. These are what help a person chew food and push it to the back of the throat.
They also work to close off the vocal folds to help keep food from moving into the airway and then move the food into the esophagus and eventually the stomach. More information about how this works and issues that may occur are available at johnlholahan.com.
If there are any issues during this process, it can result in several symptoms, like gagging or coughing when trying to swallow or the sensation that there is something stuck in the back of the throat. It can also cause pain and drooling or swallowing. Other symptoms that are harder to diagnose include hoarseness and heartburn.
The Challenges of a Diet for Dysphagia
Being able to stick to a diet that is formulated for individuals with dysphagia can have a negative impact on a person’s life. After all, eating is a cultural experience.
Most “get-togethers” involve socializing with others, food, and drink. If someone is unable to eat what everyone else does, an emotional component is brought into play. Those who have dysphagia often suffer from depression, eat less, socialize less, and feel as though they have lost some of their independence.
While this is true, it is essential that the individual sticks to a diet that will make swallowing easy and that won’t cause any of the symptoms above. There are some foods that can help with this. They include:
- Soft foods
- Liquid foods
- Pureed foods
How to Make Delicious Soft, Liquid, and Pureed Foods
It’s a challenge to create delicious and safe food in a puree or liquid form; however, it is not impossible. While it may be a good idea to speak to doctors and dieticians about this, there are many resources out there that can help, too. When experimenting with these food options, try to reconstruct favorite foods a layer at a time.
This is effective for everything from banana cream pie to turkey dinners. Also, the right sauce can make a huge difference in the final flavor of the dishes.
Some other things worth noting when creating this type of food is that there are some foods, like stringy or fibrous foods that won’t puree properly.
Also, by pressure cooking rice and steaming vegetables, it is possible to keep them more flavorful when they are pureed. For individuals who have cases of dysphagia that are not as severe, maintaining some softer foods in their diet is possible, but this is something that should be done carefully.
Making Delicious Foods
While dysphagia may require a person to alter their life, it does not mean they can never enjoy the foods they love. The key is to get creative in the kitchen.
By using the tips and information here, a person will be able to enjoy the dishes they love without aggravating their dysphagia symptoms.
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