Why Seniors Need to Eat Healthy

Eating for Health in Your Senior Years

As you begin to get older, the type of nutrition you need changes, which means your diet and habits must change too in order to remain in good overall health during your senior years. You have to adjust your caloric intake to stay in line with a slower paced life. You also need to get enough protein to maintain muscle mass and strength. Plus you may need to reduce your sodium to manage your blood pressure or reduce your carbohydrates to manage blood glucose levels. Eating healthy enough to maintain good senior health can be a challenge for some.

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Reducing harmful foods

No food is bad in and of itself, but the effects of some foods are less healthy than others, especially for seniors. Sodium and cholesterol, for example, are both necessary for the body to function properly; however, in excess, they can lead to higher blood pressure and artery-blocking clots, which in turn raise the risk of heart disease or stroke. Other foods seniors need to consider are those that are high in sugar or simple carbohydrates, including white bread, white rice, and most foods typically eaten as a dessert. These can lead to problems with weight gain and type 2 diabetes.

Getting more of the good stuff

A healthy diet is one that contains fresh fruits and vegetables, enough fiber and protein, and helps you to maintain a proper body weight. Together, all of that supports excellent overall health, including providing good levels of important vitamins and minerals. A few good choices to include are apples, berries, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, beans, edamame, raw nuts in moderation, fish, and poultry. Add some brown rice or whole grains to the mix to complete the picture of a great diet. If you need to cook with oil, consider using extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.

What to ask your doctor about nutrition

Before making big changes in your nutrition, you should talk to your family doctor about your specific needs and what changes might offer you the most benefit in terms of senior health issues. You should also find out information about maintaining a healthy body weight, which varies from person to person depending on his/her height and muscle mass. A healthy weight can be a good predictor of good overall health at any age.

Eating healthy takes commitment, but it pays dividends in terms of longevity, quality of life, and maintaining physical strength long into your senior years. Plus you can still enjoy food, even when you are taking the time to eat healthy.

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