Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial for everyone, but it becomes increasingly important as we age. Our bodies require different nutrients as we get older to ensure our health and well-being. Diet can be truly transformative to every aspect of our lives. Enjoying flavorful whole foods you love while reducing salt and sugar intake can even help prevent chronic diseases, enhance your immune systems and improve your quality of life.
In this article, we’ll offer some tips on how to maintain a diet that can give you some of the above benefits. However, be sure that before making any changes to your diet, you consult with a medical professional to discuss your unique needs and situation.
Improve Quality of Life
A healthy diet can improve quality of life in a multitude of ways. Consuming nutrient-dense foods can help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Some studies have also shown that a healthy weight can also impact overall health, and a nutritious diet can help you achieve and maintain that number.
A well-balanced diet can also boost energy levels, leading to increased productivity and enjoyment of daily activities. This is because eating healthy foods can improve mental health, promoting positive moods and reducing the risk of depression and anxiety. This can lead to enhanced social interactions, encouraging individuals to participate in shared meals and social activities.
Delay or Prevent Chronic Disease
As we age, we must prioritize our well-being and health, and a balanced and nutritious diet is a crucial aspect of this. Consuming healthy foods can aid in preventing chronic diseases that tend to affect older adults, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Though hereditary and other lifestyle factors can contribute to these conditions, poor eating habits can also play a role. By consuming foods that are rich in essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber, you can decrease the likelihood of developing chronic illnesses and live a longer, more fulfilling life.
Maintain a Healthy Immune System
A healthy diet can also boost your immune system. Consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats, provides the body with essential vitamins and minerals that are vital for immune function. While no supplement can cure or prevent disease, getting the right amount of key vitamins is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. For instance, vitamin C (which can be found in citrus fruits, berries, and leafy greens) is important for producing white blood cells that fight infections. Vitamin E (found in nuts, seeds, and leafy greens) is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage.
A healthy diet can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which can contribute to chronic diseases and weaken the immune system. Consuming anti-inflammatory foods, such as fatty fish, nuts, leafy greens, and fruits, can help reduce inflammation and support immune function.
How Seniors Can Maintain a Healthy Diet
So, how can seniors maintain a healthy diet? The key is to manage your portion sizes, stay hydrated, eat a variety of whole foods and attend to your specific dietary needs. Be sure that you speak to a medical professional or nutritionist who can help evaluate your current diet and craft recommendations based on your unique needs.
Watch Those Portion Sizes
While eating a variety of foods is key to a nutritious diet, while you do so, be sure to watch your portion sizes. Our caloric requirements change over time, so it’s easy to overeat if we’re not paying attention. Try using smaller plates or measuring your food to make sure you’re eating the correct portions for your dietary needs. If you are unsure what that looks like, speak to your dietitian or doctor.
Get (and Stay) Hydrated
Staying hydrated is important for maintaining good health and preventing dehydration, especially for older adults. Dehydration can lead to a range of health problems, including urinary tract infections, constipation, kidney stones, and even cognitive impairment. Make it a habit to drink water throughout the day, even if you do not feel thirsty. Carry a water bottle with you, and take small sips of water every hour or so. Also, certain beverages like coffee, tea, and alcohol can cause dehydration. Limit your intake of these beverages, and drink water or herbal tea instead. If you find water too plain, try adding fresh fruit for a burst of flavor.
Eat Whole Foods
Whole foods are foods that are minimally processed. This means that they are still in their natural state, like an apple or pear, or have been altered as little as possible through processes like drying, pickling or freezing. These foods are typically rich in nutrients, fiber and other beneficial compounds that are essential for good health. This includes fruits, vegetables, grains and lean proteins. Ensure that whole foods take up a significant part of your diet, and reduce your intake of sugary or highly processed foods.
Consider Dietary Requirements
If you have a specific medical condition, like heart disease or diabetes, your doctor may recommend specific dietary changes. Additionally, some older adults may need more vitamin D or calcium. A healthy diet is one that takes all of these factors into account and makes adjustments accordingly.
Eat (and Live) Well at The Stayton
The Stayton is a Life Care community in Fort Worth, Texas that offers sophisticated high-rise living at the center of it all. Located in the heart of Fort Worth’s esteemed West 7th Cultural District, residents here enjoy access to amenities such as a fitness center and indoor pool paired with easy access to dining, shopping and entertainment options. Take in the views from our 11th-story Skyline Lounge or attend a guest appearance from one of our partners at the Fort Worth Opera or Kimbell Art Museum. To find out more, contact us or complete the form below.