Are carbonated beverages homogeneous

Chewing and swallowing disorder

Enjoyment despite dysphagia

Slightly thickened drinks are easier to drink through a straw

In Germany alone, over 5 million people suffer from chewing and swallowing disorders - called dysphagia. In the following, we will explain the problem and show you how you can give affected guests back the pleasure of eating and drinking, step by step, even though they sometimes find it difficult to eat. Provide good care for those affected and prevent malnutrition and negative consequences. What is to be considered?

A smoothie contains important vitamins and does not require any chewing effort

Causes of Dysphagia

The causes of chewing and swallowing disorders can be very diverse, often neurological diseases. Discomfort can also arise after operations in the mouth, neck and head area. But psychological problems can also lead to such a disorder and with age, the ability to chop and swallow food deteriorates, sometimes drastically.

Dangerous consequences

People with dysphagia often lose the joy of eating in company. They are afraid of choking or worry that someone is watching them pour chyme from their mouths. Those affected often refuse to eat and drink. This leads to dehydration and malnutrition. To counteract this, it is advisable to enrich the food with nutrient concentrates.

The effects of a chewing and swallowing disorder range from easy swallowing to pneumonia caused by swallowing liquids or solid foods.

Diagnosis and therapy

The first warning signs of dysphagia include frequent swallowing, feeling lumpy when swallowing, and poor chewing. Decreased food and fluid intake can result. The diagnosis is carried out by the nursing staff, kitchen staff, or housekeeping. Dietary therapy then takes place in close cooperation with doctors, speech therapists, kitchen and nursing staff.

By increasing the "challenge" using the consistency levels described below, the ability to chew and swallow can be promoted again. Depending on the clinical picture and the information provided by the speech therapist, the kitchen either starts with the passed diet or with the adapted diet.

Goals of Therapy

  • Promote oral feeding
  • adequate nutrition
  • Protection of the respiratory tract
  • Restoring or maintaining the highest possible quality of life

Diet structure for food

The food selection must be adapted to the respective extent of the disorder. The right consistency depends on the ability to chop and swallow the food yourself. The situation in which those affected find themselves plays a major role. If, for example, it is a young person after an operation, greater therapeutic success can be expected here than in the case of a senior citizen in need of care, whose situation has stagnated for a long time.

On the basis of the different levels, those affected - ideally - are brought back to normal food step by step. Depending on the individual possibilities of your guests, choose appropriate, suitable food and drinks. Your guests should receive wholesome and appetizing meals at all levels. In addition, a high-quality and varied mixed diet according to DGE is recommended.

The consistency levels

Soft-boiled components are easier to swallow

As a rule, there is "only" a slight chewing disorder. The swallowing process still works. Adjust the individual components as required. Simply replace hard foods with softer ones or extend the cooking time. Raw salads, peeled fruit and hard ingredients such as nuts or dry products are to be excluded.

Suitable products

  • Solid foods that are not crispy or crunchy
  • Soft meat like chicken or ground beef
  • fish
  • Casseroles and low-fiber vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower or kohlrabi
  • Peeled fruit

Partially pureed soft food

Well-swollen ingredients make it easier to eat

Little chewing effort is required here. Homogeneity is not necessary. However, the food should be soft and not contain any hard components in order to avoid swallowing. For example, bread should be free from grains and seeds. The meat component should be chopped up or hashed.

Suitable products

  • Rindless, soft bread
  • Soft potatoes
  • Well puffed pasta
  • Soft fruit
  • Soft sausage
  • Dumplings, fish dumplings, soft scrambled eggs, steamed fish
Finely pureed and still appetizing

Homogeneous meals are required if you have difficulty swallowing. Pureed dishes with a uniform consistency can be crushed on the palate. More tongue work is required. Sticky bread toppings such as honey or turnip tops are not advisable.

Suitable products

  • Pureed bread
  • Pureed meat
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Instant cereal flakes
  • Milk porridge
  • Processed cheese
Thick soups offer many variations in taste

There is no chewing process, the food is collected in the mouth and swallowed. The food must therefore be homogeneous and absolutely free from lumps or fibers. Sieve the food to remove any lumps and fibers.

Suitable products

  • Fruit and vegetable puree
  • Milk soups and thick soups
  • Foams
  • Passed bread

Fluid requirements

People with dysphagia are particularly at risk of not drinking enough fluids. The less people eat, the more they should drink.

Consistency levels beverages

1. Thin: In the case of slight swallowing problems, drinking through a straw is possible. Drinks are only slightly thickened. Milk or thin milkshakes, which may be thickened if necessary, fruit nectar, ice cream and creamy fruit or vegetable juices are suitable.

2. Nectar-like: In the case of moderate swallowing disorders, liquids can be drunk from a cup, but not through a straw. Suitable products are: juices without pulp with an adapted consistency through binding agents or texturizers, drinking yoghurt and fine cream soups.

3. Creamy, honey-like: In the case of advanced swallowing difficulties, drinking from a cup is no longer possible. A spoon is necessary. A reduced flow rate and a limitation of the amount reduce the risk of swallowing. Drinks with a suitable consistency using binders or texturizers are suitable for this. You can also serve yoghurt, cream dishes, pudding and fine purees. Avoid carbonated drinks.

Give your guests back the joy of eating!

Avoid a mix of all components. It is much nicer for your guests to see, smell and taste all the individual components. The dishes are made more attractive with piping nozzles or shapes with which you can reproduce the food in a natural way.

Cold, very spicy, or acidic foods can help trigger a swallowing reflex. Quite warm and ice cold food is more likely to be perceived in the mouth. If your guests can choose a desired food, they are more likely to accept it.