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Food Thickeners

Following a restrictive diet or helping your loved one keep to a special diet can be challenging. This is especially true if the medical diet in question requires you or your loved one to only eat foods of a specific consistency. Trying to puree foods to an exact thickness can be difficult. However, there are products available to greatly simplify altering the consistency of foods. Food thickeners from Walgreens can be ideal for preparing meals for individuals needing texture modified foods and liquids on a dysphagia diet.

What Is Dysphagia?

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing. The condition is usually not a primary medical condition. It usually occurs due to another medical problem. Strokes that leave the body partially or completely paralyzed on one side are one of the most common causes of dysphagia. The problem can also develop due to injuries to the esophagus (food pipe), severe acid reflux disease, nerve dysfunction or damage or cancer of the esophagus. Some forms of dysphagia can be treated with surgery, clinical procedures and medications. However, often patients must follow a special diet for at least some period of time following a diagnosis.

What to Do for Dysphagia?

If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with dysphagia, carefully following the prescribed medical diet is of the utmost importance. Many people with difficulty swallowing find it challenging or impossible to eat enough of the right foods to stay healthy and can be at risk for malnutrition as a result. Doctors may recommend thickened liquid diets to help individuals with certain types of dysphagia get the nutrition that they need from foods that are easy and safe to swallow.

What Are Food Thickeners?

Food thickeners can be mixed with purees and other liquids in order to alter their consistency. The more thickener that you add to a pureed food, the thicker it will become. You or your loved one's doctor can tell you how thick to make purees. Some individuals with dysphagia may not be able to safely swallow thin liquids and need to add thickeners to their drinks. Depending on the level of dysphagia, you may need to thicken to the consistency of nectar, honey or pudding.

Canisters vs Packets

Food thickeners come in two different forms. You can purchase canisters that provide large amounts of thickener to help you prepare many meals. Canisters minimize waste and allow you to choose how much thickener you add to a food at one time. Single-serving packets are also available. Some people feel the thickener stays fresher in packets and like the convenience of having the powder pre-measured.

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