The Joy of Eating Well is Aging Well

For seniors, the benefits of healthy eating are many:

▪ increased mental acuteness

▪ resistance to illness and disease

▪ higher energy levels

▪ a more robust immune system

▪ faster recuperation times

▪ better management of chronic health problems.

As people age, eating well can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced.

Choices to help improve your diet and your health:

Fruit – Focus on whole fruits rather than juices for more fiber and vitamins. Aim for 1½ to 2 cups daily. Break the apple and banana rut and add berries or melons.

Veggies – Choose anti-oxidant rich, dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, and broccoli as well as carrots, squash, and yams. Eat 2 to 2½ cups of veggies every day.

Calcium – Seniors need 1,200 mg of calcium a day. Sources are milk, yogurt, cheese, tofu, broccoli, almonds, kale and seeds.

Grains – Choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and a higher fiber count. Seniors need 6-7 ounces of grains each day and one ounce is about 1 slice of bread.

Protein – Seniors need about .5 grams per pound of bodyweight. Divide your body weight in half to know how many grams you need. Vary protein sources with fish, beans, peas, nuts, eggs, milk, cheese, and seeds.

Water – Post a note as a reminder to drink water every hour and with meals. This helps avoid urinary tract infections, constipation, and possibly confusion.

Vitamin B – Get the recommended daily intake (2.4 mcg) of B12 from fortified foods or a vitamin.

Vitamin D – Aging skin is less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D, so consult a doctor about supplementing with fortified foods or a multivitamin.

Spices not Salt – Increase herbs and spices to flavor your food, and minimize salt. Do not put the salt shaker on the table at meals.

Eat Less – Try smaller portions and less snacking between meals if weight control is an issue.

By choosing healthy foods, older adults can feel better immediately and stay healthy for the future. A balanced diet and physical activity contribute to a higher quality of life and enhanced independence as you age.

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