Healthy eating and a smart diet is vital for everyone of all ages. The key to a successful diet is maintaining a well-balanced healthy mix of foods that have a myriad of health benefits.
A healthy diet gives you the nutrients to keep your muscles, bones, organs and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life. It may help lower high cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduce the risk of or manage Type II diabetes, minimize bone loss and decrease your chances of heart disease.
Feeling sluggish? The American Dietetic Association reports that carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins provide your body with energy to properly function. Foods like walnuts, almonds, blueberries, bananas, apples, and strawberries all provide energy boosts, all the while helping you attain the recommended daily intake of nutrients your body requires to operate at full steam.
What Types of Foods Should I Be Eating?
- Whole Grains
These powerhouse foods are pantry essentials. A good source of B vitamins, they are also loaded with some of the best-for-you fiber available. A recent study found the fiber in whole grains is better protection against cardiovascular disease, infections, and respiratory ailments than fiber from any other source.
- Fruits and Vegetables
Look for the most colorful produce, says Diane Stadler, PhD, RD, a research assistant professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. "The darker the red, the deeper the green, the more yellow, the more orange -- they're the foods that have function." That means they're loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Stadler recommends blueberries, red raspberries, and dark cherries as ideal fruits, and she says you can't miss with any of the dark leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, or Swiss chard. And you can have them all year because, when it comes to nutrients, frozen is just as good as fresh.
Oily fish like salmon provide an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help fight the bad cholesterol that tends to build up as we get older.
Dairy's also a great source of vitamin D -- it's essential for healthy bones, but people of a certain age are often deficient in D. Stick to low-fat or nonfat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Lean Meats
Meat such as skinless chicken and turkey breasts, which supply protein and vitamin B-12 without heart-clogging fats.
McMillen, M. (2011, July 11). WebMd.com. Nutrition For Seniors. Retrieved September 4, 2012, from http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/features/nutrition-for-seniors
Steps to Making Change
A healthy lifestyle is about changing not just what you eat but how you eat and how you think about eating. Your food choices affect your energy, your digestion, how you feel physically and of course, your weight.
The biggest step is committing to you bettering yourself, committing to living a longer, healthier and happier life!
Keep it simple. Make one change at a time. For example, start by simply switching from white bread to whole grain bread. Instead of adding just a little more salt to your dinner, remove the salt shaker from the table all together. Instead of ordering French fries, order a side salad with oil and vinegar dressing instead.
Checking With Your Doctor
If you have a specific medical condition, be sure to check with your doctor about the foods you should include or avoid in your diet.