Eating Healthy As We Age
To guarantee a long and healthy life, seniors can make simple changes in their diet to prevent disease and increase energy. Below are some easy recommendations to follow for optimal senior nutrition:
-Eat more fruits and vegetables with moderate amounts of whole grains and lean protein.
-Reduce the amount of sweets in the diet. Seek to satisfy the sweet tooth by eating fresh or frozen fruits. In addition, adding whole grains in the form of barley, oats, and whole wheat will naturally reduce cravings for sweets.
-Reduce sodium to control hypertension and prevent heart disease.
-Eat almonds, vegetables, and leafy greens to get appropriate amounts of calcium to keep bones strong. If not lactose-intolerant, eat an ounce or two of raw cheese, preferably goat cheese, per day to increase intake of calcium.
-Aim for 30 grams of fiber per day from whole grains such as brown rice, oat bran, whole wheat and barley, fruits, vegetables, and nuts to support the digestive tract and prevent constipation. Eliminate or reduce refined “white” products such as white rice, white bread and store-bought cookies.
-If using antacids, choose foods rich in B vitamins such as nuts, seeds, broccoli, eggs and dark leafy greens. These foods also will promote energy and stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.
-Avoid hydrogenated fats when cooking and instead use healthy oils such as olive, grape seed or coconut. Also consider avocado, almond, walnut and flaxseed oils, which add wonderful taste and nutrition, when used over salads or steamed vegetables.
-Select foods rich in Vitamin E to keep skin, nail and hair healthy, as well as fight free radicals and cancer. Great sources of vitamin E include asparagus, sweet potatoes, papaya and swiss chard.
-Make certain to eat all the colors of the rainbow everyday to get a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. For example, a day’s meals may include red beets, oranges, yellow squash, spinach, blueberries and purple grapes. Raw fruits and vegetables are loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes to aid digestion and fight aging. Keep a bowl of cut-up raw fruits and veggies in the refrigerator for snacking.
-Steam or bake vegetables instead of frying them to trim excess fat and calories.
-Look for alternative sources of protein such as wild-caught fish, beans, tofu and nuts which are a good source of protein and low in fat. Go easy on consumption of red meats and pork products as they are high in saturated fat and are closely tied to heart disease and stroke.
-Choose foods that maximize nutrition and eliminate those with little or no nutritional benefits, such as sugar, soda, boxed meals, potato chips and pastries.
-Drink half your body weight in water each day to assure proper hydration. In addition, eat vegetables with high water content including cucumber, cabbage, grapes, onions, apples and melons.
-Exercise each day by taking a quick stroll after dinner or participating in low-impact classes at your community center. Water aerobics, tai chi, or yoga are ideal choices.
This article by Seniorcitizensguide.com