Good Nutrition: A Key to Healthy Aging
Good nutrition plays an important role in how well you age. Eating a low salt, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber can actually reduce your age-related risks of chronic diseases. Eating a variety of foods will help meet your nutrient needs.
Protein- a part of all living cells
Make wise protein choices- choose more low-fat quality protein sources, such as poultry, fish eggs or egg substitutes, soy, and limited amounts of nuts and low-fat meat and dairy.
Carbohydrate- body’s preferred source of energy
Choose more complex carbohydrates, such as vegetables and whole-wheat grains. Choose fewer simple carbohydrates, such as sucrose (sugar added to sweets and desserts), fructose (sugar contained in fruit), and lactose (milk sugar). Get most of your carbohydrate calories from complex carbohydrates
Fats- provides the body with energy
Select “heart healthy fats”, such as monounsaturated fats (in olive oil, avocados, and nuts), rather than “bad’’saturated fats (beef, pork, veal, whole milk, butter, stick margarine, shortening, and cheese) and “good” polyunsaturated fats (in liquid corn oil or soybean oil). Limit the Worst- Trans fats found in vegetable shortening; some margarines (especially stick margarines); commercially prepared crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, salad dressings, and other processed foods. Replace fat calories with complex carbohydrates in your diet
Water- keeps the body hydrated and must be replaced daily
Aging causes the kidneys to become less efficient. Make a conscious effort to get six to eight 8 fluid ounce glasses of water daily
Maintain a healthy body weight.
Your body’s daily calorie needs slowly decrease with age. As you age you need fewer calories per day than when you were younger. This means you need adequate protein and less fat in your diet. To help your body maintain a healthy weight, eat enough protein, less fat and increase physical activity.
As you age your bones lose mineral content more rapidly than before. This is especially true if you are a post-menopausal woman. Lower estrogen hormones increase bone loss. You need adequate daily calcium to help prevent osteoporosis. Always consult your physician or health care provider when making changes in your lifestyle, but by incorporating some healthful nutrition strategies you may find improvement in your quality of life.
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