Over the course of a lifespan, what consists of a healthy diet changes multiple times. As an infant, breast milk is needed for healthy brain development. As a toddler, protein, iron, and calcium are essential for growth and development. The amount of food you need generally increases until you are a full-grown adult. However, our diets continue to evolve. Once in your forties, calcium is needed for bone strength and vitamin A is required to maintain decent eyesight. Our metabolism slows, and we have to readjust the way we ingest our nutrients.
While we tend to have plenty of advice and knowledge on staying healthy throughout the first 60 years of life, there seems to be a lack of information on senior diets. As the body continues to change, new types of nutrients are needed, and old types are not. Here are some tips for staying healthy as a senior.
Liquids. Did you know that your sense of thirst lessens as you age? While you may not feel thirsty, you may still be in need of hydration. If you are just not interested in drinking more water, drink 100-percent juice or fat-free milk as second options.
Variety. The best way to ensure you are maintaining a healthy diet is by incorporating a variety of foods. Try taking a trip to your local market for inexpensive fruits and vegetables you can experiment with. According to the National Council on Aging, a healthy meal includes a lean protein, fruits and veggies, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
Minimize. Some foods that were okay before become bad at a certain age. One of those top no-nos, as you age, is sodium. Since taste also declines as you age, the chances of over salting increase which can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. If you can’t cut it out of your diet, make sure to measure your intake for no more than 2,300 milligrams daily. Also work to minimize your intake of sugar-sweetened drinks and desserts, foods with butter or shortening, and white bread, rice, and other refined grains.
Read. Whole foods are the best foods. While whole foods are the best option, it is naive to believe that everything you eat will be completely whole. When purchasing packaged foods, read the labels to find choices that are low in fat, added sugars, and sodium.
Supplements. To ensure you are receiving the proper amount of vitamins and minerals, consider taking daily or weekly supplements. However, before deciding, discuss options with your doctor to ensure benefits work for your overall health.