The importance of cured meats in a healthy hospital diet.
“Buono a sapersi”(Good to Know) edited by Jessica Lops (Dietician)
During a stay in hospital, a patient’s diet plays an essential part of their diagnosis and treatment process.
An unhealthy diet can represent a further risk factor for several illnesses and can lead to malnutrition. Malnutrition is often observed when a patient is first admitted and can worsen during their stay, leading to both physical and psychological complications. It can influence negatively on the outcome of their treatment, it reduces the immune response, leaves the patient open to infections, delays healing, compromises the function of organs and systems, reduces muscular mass and strength, as well as creating a serious lack of appetite. As a result, treatment can become more complicated and it takes longer for the patient to feel well enough to go home.
As a general rule, malnutrition does not have a single cause but, more often than not, is due to multiple nutritional deficiencies caused by problems with chewing, swallowing, digestion and changes in metabolism.
For all these reasons, patients should be given as varied a diet as possible, made up of simple, healthy and tasty meals. The aim is to ensure they follow a healthy diet during their stay, as recommended by LARN (Intake Levels of Reference of Nutrients and energy recommended to the Italian population) and remain healthy.
One of the most popular categories of food in hospitals is sliced meats. Let’s take a closer look at them.
These two foods are a staple part of a daily hospital diet; sliced turkey, bresaola and sometimes speck, which are just as tasty, are usually given once or twice a week.
In addition to these recommendations, a patient’s food intake should always be monitored and, if their normal diet does not provide the necessary nutrients, it should be integrated with special products which can be taken by mouth or, in more extreme cases, artificial feeding can be introduced.
The aim is to ensure patients receive adequate levels of nutrition and to meet the needs of each individual person.