Eating a balanced and nutritious Diet is crucial to the process of ageing well. A nutritious diet helps us stay energetic, active and Healthy. A healthy diet can help prevent loss of muscle mass and bone density that seniors are particularly vulnerable to. A balanced diet can improve chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol.
“Eat your rainbow” is the advice usually given by doctors to patients who want to adopt healthy eating habits. The best way to create the rainbow in the plate is to include a colorful mix of vegetables, fruits and nuts, calcium-rich dairy products and protein-rich legumes and beans in your daily meals.
Here are some ingredients to help you start building that rainbow. You will be surprised at the profound effect they will have in boosting your mood and general well-being.
FRUITS: With their riot of colors and fiber content, fruits are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. The potassium in fruits lowers the risk of Heart Disease, stroke and bone loss. Nutrients in fruits slow down the growth of certain cancers and ward off eye and digestive problems. And best of all, it is easy to consume fruits daily by adding them to cereals, yogurt or simply munching them as a snack.
VEGETABLES: Vegetables provide vital nutrients for the health and maintenance of the body. Most vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and do not contain cholesterol. Vegetables like sweet potatoes, beans, beetroot, and spinach are excellent sources of potassium. Folic acid from Green Leafy Vegetables is essential for the formation and growth of blood cells. It can also reduce the risk of certain cancers. Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and improves digestion. Vitamin A in cabbage, lettuce, spinach keeps eyes and skin healthy and boosts the immune system. Vitamin C helps heal wounds and promotes the health of the teeth and gums.
CALCIUM: This mineral is vital for optimal bone health among older adults who are vulnerable to osteoporosis and bone fractures. The heart muscles and nerves also need calcium to function efficiently. Calcium is found in a variety of foods, such as dairy products like milk, yogurt or cheese, fish, soy products and dark green leafy vegetables.
VITAMIN D: To absorb calcium, the body needs vitamin D. Fish, egg yolks and sunshine are sources of Vitamin D.
WHOLE GRAINS: Grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, some key vitamins and minerals. Grains are also low in fat. Consuming healthy grains can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Barley, brown rice, millets, oatmeal are some examples of healthy grains.
PROTEIN: Seniors need protein to boost the immune system, maintain muscles and for building and repairing the tissue in the body. Protein is found in beans, eggs, fish, nuts, milk, seeds and red meat. Including protein in every meal is the best way to get the daily requirement of this nutrient.
WATER: Dehydration is a common problem for the elderly. As we age, our body does not regulate fluid levels as efficiently as it used to. It is therefore necessary to replenish our body’s quota of water to avoid the effects of dehydration such as urinary tract infections, constipation and sometimes even fainting spells.
OMEGA-3 FATTY ACIDS: The human body needs these healthy fats to function well. But they have some health benefits too. They have been proven to reduce inflammation which causes heart disease, arthritis and cancer. They can also lower the risk for depression. They can be found in nuts, seeds, and different types of fish.
Diet not only affects the way we age, it also determines our quality of life and how long we live. So start making healthy diet changes, one small step at a time. However old you are, you will be amazed at how dramatically a healthy diet can help you be the youngest, brightest and healthiest you can ever be.
If you are a senior citizen who is ready to make healthy changes to your diet and don’t know where to start, call ApnaCare at (080)30752584. Our Medical Case Managers can help connect you with a qualified dietician who can guide you on what diet is right for you.
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