Good nutrition adds years to life and life to your years. The benefits of healthy eating for aging adults include increased mental acuteness, higher energy levels, resistance to illness, better management of chronic health problems and resistance to illness and disease. You can change your diet and your health by increasing your physical activity and eating more fiber rich foods, whole grains, fruits, healthy fats, calcium and protein.
Thinks to remember for a healthy diet:
- Reduce your sodium (salt) intake – look for food labeled “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” and food seasoned with herbs, spices or garlic instead of salt
- Look for hidden sugar – check food labels for added sugars or sugar related terms such as corn syrup, brown rice syrup, cane juice sucrose, maltose and dextrose
- Avoid skipping meals
- Eat more “good” carbohydrates – the complex carbs found in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains take longer to digest and will keep your insulin (blood sugar) levels more stable
- Eat fiber rich foods such as whole wheat, unrefined breakfast cereals, grain breads, fresh and dried fruits, vegetables and beans
- Eat with color and creativity – keep your meals interesting to your eyes and stomach by trying to include five different colors on your plate and never be afraid to try new things in the kitchen
Remember you don’t need to change all of your eating habits at once. Start with small steps and try making one change per meal.