A healthy diet and a healthy life always go hand in hand. According to reports by the World Health Organization (WHO), a majority of diseases that older people suffer are due to an unhealthy diet. Healthy eating is essential at any age, but it’s even more important as one gets older, as the coming years may depend on the quality of food your body is getting.
Improving the diet and converting it into a healthy one has its own benefits. It helps you live longer and stronger, sharpen the mind, make you feel a lot better. A healthy diet doesn’t mean eating green leaves throughout the day but consuming all types of foods, including fruits and vegetables to provide the body with all the required vitamins and ingredients for it to stay healthy and function efficiently.
More health problems start to arise with age, like poor dental health, memory loss, depression, decreased sensitivity, and many more. This increases the importance of healthy eating food in older adults. The food you consume may ultimately decide how long and well you live.
Here are some of the healthy eating choices and habits:
Choose Nutrient-dense food: Choose the foods that are high in vitamins and minerals, but low in calories and fat. This can also help in maintaining the weight by reducing the fat intake. Nutrient-dense foods include fruits and vegetables, brown bread and pasta, milk, cheese, yogurt, nuts, dried beans, and eggs.
Eat less sodium: High sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Avoid boxed or canned food as they are usually high in sodium. Also, try to choose the products which are marked ‘Sodium free’.
Foods high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids: These fatty acids prevent inflammation in the body which can cause cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. They can also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and keep the mind alert. They are mainly found in fish, soybeans, canola oil, and walnuts.
Foods rich in calcium: The body’s requirement for calcium is so essential that if it doesn’t get enough, it’ll start reabsorbing it from the bones. Calcium helps in maintaining healthy bones and a healthy body and also prevents diseases such as Osteoporosis. It is important that older people get an adequate supply of Calcium in the body to maintain their bone strength and keep healthy bones during older age.
Foods rich in fiber: Foods rich in fiber promote digestion and reduce the risk of heart disease. High fiber foods are generally low in calories and fats but loaded with vitamins and minerals. These foods include nuts, wholegrain bread and pasta, brown rice, brown bread, fruits, and vegetables.
Water: No matter how old you get, the body always needs an adequate amount of water to function properly. As one gets older, the sense of feeling thirst decreases which makes the person more prone to dehydration. It’s important to drink plenty of water every day as your body always needs it to stay hydrated.
Foods rich in iron: Iron is an essential part of the body. Approximately, 80 percent of the elders are found to be iron deficient. Iron deficiency, also known as anemia, would lead to a limited supply of oxygen to the body tissues as iron produces hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood from the lungs to the rest of the body. Iron is an important component of food to maintain good health.
Foods rich in Vitamin C: It is mainly found in fruits and vegetables, and acts as an antioxidant which prevents cancer and heart disease. Vitamin C is good for skin also as it helps to get rid of the dead skin cells, leaving you a healthy and glowing skin.
Foods rich in Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps in absorbing calcium in the body, slowing down the rate at which bones lose calcium. It helps in maintaining the bone density and hence preventing disease like Osteoporosis, muscle weakness, heart disease, and arthritis. It is found in foods like cereals, milk, yogurt, and juices.
Foods rich in Potassium: Potassium reduces the blood pressure and lowers the chance of having a kidney stone. Lack of potassium is not healthy for the body, and too much of it can be dangerous too. Potassium deficiency can cause muscle weakness, cramp, or abnormal heart rhythms. Potassium-rich foods include fruits and vegetables like potatoes, bananas, and prunes.
High protein foods: Aging cause a loss to the muscle mass. Consuming foods with high protein component can help in reducing muscle mass and retain the strength of your body as you get older. High protein foods include fish, beans, soy products, cottage cheese, hummus, tofu, nuts, and lean meat.