Eating healthy has benefits that will help everyone. However, as we age, healthy eating can make the difference in the quality of our life. Eating healthy food will help how you feel, the amount of energy you have, and your overall well-being. But getting one well-balanced meal in your stomach each day can be a challenge for busy individuals.
Food is the body’s fuel and part of it is medicine for the body as well. For older adults, good nutrition takes on even more importance. But good nutrtion does not always mean counting calories and investigating food labels. It means having a well balanced meal filled with minerals, vitamins, and nutrients. This means including vitamins such as B6, B12, folic acid, which you can get from a nutritious cereal with added vitamins. B6 is in whole grains, and organ meats such as liver; B12 is found in lean meats and some fish; Folate is found in dark green vegetables, beans and peas.
With age many people tend to lose their sense of thirst and their sense of taste. This is why it’s even more important for seniors to constantly allow themselves to stay hydrated throughout the day. Seniors need to drink water, sparkling water, fat free milk including lactose free options or soy beverages, as well as 100% juice. It is recommended that seniors stay away from beverages with sugar and salt added. Also, seniors can implement lemon juice, vinegar, herbs and spices, while having brightly colored foods to improve the flavor of their food, as well as to increase the desire for seniors to eat consistently.
Calcium and vitamin D are important for maintaining strong bones and we know as people tend to age their bones get weaker. You can get calcium from dairy products like Yogurt, leafy vegetables such as broccoli and kale. You can get vitamin D simply from being out in the sun for periods of time. If you are someone that is experiencing an illness that prevents you from being in the sun for periods of time, then suggest adding vitamin D products into your diet.
Fiber and potassium are essential for older adults who are trying to maintain a healthy diet. Fiber is good for the heart, and potassium is good for your blood pressure. Fiber also helps prevent diabetes and helps you avoid constipation. Some good sources of fiber are beans, whole grains, and vegetables. A good source of potassium in food is bananas, potatoes, and yogurt.
Aim for a balanced plate filled with vegetables or fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins, such as from chicken or steak. Avoid all the bad fats like saturated fats, and trans fats if you want to avoid unnecessary health issues. Keep it simple and stick to the basics when it comes to preparing a well balanced meal. On a daily basis you should be consuming lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and maybe even some beans and a few servings of dairy. You could also ass some poultry, eggs, and some nuts to mix it up every once in awhile.
Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.