Nutrition is the key that can unlock health and healing – your diet can help you avoid the doctor and allow you to enjoy life more! The choices you make about what is on your plate can affect your mood and help treat diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
The way we eat changes as we age. Our bodies need more of certain nutrients, and the metabolism usually slows, making it so that we need fewer calories. It’s more important than ever to be aware of what we eat so that we can get the highest nutritional value from our diet.
There are several easy ways to make sure your diet is “fueling” your best life. Start with these helpful tips:
Learn to Create a Healthy Plate
You may remember the USDA Food Pyramid. Today there are even better and easier models you can use to create a healthy diet when you fill your plate. Visit MyPlate for a simple, easy to remember visual graphic that will give you a quick reference for creating a healthy meal.
Get the Most Nutrients from Your Food
You will need to eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs. Think about your plate in colorful terms – try to include as many colors of the rainbow on your plate as you can. Focus on balancing these essentials:
- Lean Proteins – poultry, beans, seafood, eggs, lean meats
- Vegetables and Fruit – the best of these are often purple, green, or orange
- Whole Grains – whole wheat pasta and breads, brown rice
- Low-fat Dairy – skim milk, yogurt, cottage cheese
Avoid sodium and choose foods that are high in fiber, like whole grain breads, squash, bananas and oatmeal. Fiber helps to maintain a healthy weight by keeping your system regulated. Add in supplements like vitamin D and other nutrients that are important as we age.
Probiotic therapy can correct a wide variety of issues and is an indispensable part of a good diet. Probiotics improve gut health by balancing the presence of good bacteria in your digestive system. Maintaining this balance can improve the body’s overall function. Active cultures from capsule supplements or yogurt have been shown to improve digestion, relieve diarrhea and constipation, prevent yeast infections, improve immune function, and relieve anxiety. Take a probiotic supplement every day and choose yogurt or other products that contain active probiotic cultures to feel better in so many ways.
Read the Label
Learning how to read and interpret the nutrition labels when you go shopping will help you to understand your calorie and nutrient needs and how they are translated in the label on the food you eat makes it easier to eat healthfully. “Whole foods” (unprocessed foods) like lean meats, whole grain breads, fruits and veggies are always your best choice and contain the most nutrients.
Learn About Serving Sizes
Abiding by serving amounts recommended for your age and weight helps you to maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity related diseases. Learn what the right serving amounts are for you – the American Heart Association has great information about nutrition for those over 60.
Drink Lots of Water
Your body requires water to function – a wide variety symptoms can stem from dehydration – fatigue, dizziness, blood pressure swings, and even confusion and fainting. Drink water throughout the day, and choose tea or coffee when you order a beverage. Avoid beverages that are high in sodium or sugar (unless otherwise directed by a physician).
Enjoy the video below to learn even more about how to make healthy food choices!