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07 January, 2015

How to Eat Healthy as an Aging Adult

I’ll spare you mediocre lines about Ponce de Leon or a Rod Stewart “Forever Young” reference. Eating right can’t keep us young forever, but the right vitamins and nutrients can mitigate common health problems in seniors. Dieting properly can reduce your risk for diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.

Most of us would agree that dietetics is probably in its heyday. We know more about food and nutrition than ever before, and it is becoming increasingly important to Americans. Yes, I know comedians make a living talking about the waffling that goes on controversial foods being “good” or “bad” for us. Try to remember that it’s not that simple.

Certain foods are difficult to generalize into “good” or “bad”. While some effects are positive, others can be a detriment. Oversimplifying a study with a poorly written headline can cause a conflicting message. You’re not a dietitian and that’s okay. We’ve taken some time to alleviate any confusion. This is a layman’s terms dietary guideline for the aging human mind and body.

We all feel the physical changes in our body as we age. It’s going to happen, but you’re not defenseless. You just have to know how to engineer a machine that drives on in the face of adversity. Just like toddlers outgrow baby formula, seniors shouldn’t be eating the same diet they were 20 years ago. It just doesn’t add up. Lifestyle changes as well as physiological adaptations occur that call for adjustments in a few areas.

Carbs

Carbohydrates are an important source of energy, but to be healthy we must be selective. Many carbs spike blood glucose levels aiding diabetes, heart disease and overall poor health. Potatoes, corn, cereals, skim milk, any pasta, these are all bad carbs. This article by the Mayo Clinic Staff will give you a better understanding of how carbohydrates function in a healthy diet.

Fats

Your body needs them. Like carbs, some are way better than others. Peanut butter, olive oil, avocado, and canola oil are among the heart healthy fats. These can help reduce cholesterol when used properly. Check out the American Heart Association to get educated further.

Calories

As we age our metabolism slows, making excess calories more detrimental. This also increases the value of eating cleanly (choosing foods with maximum nutritional value). Exercise portion control and consume whole grains, fruits and vegetables as two thirds of your diet.  The remaining third should be a lean source of protein.

Calcium

Make sure you’re getting enough. Calcium is paramount in staving off osteoporosis. Partner calcium with vitamin D as it permits the absorption of calcium.

Alcohol

As a senior, it’s even more important to consume alcohol in moderation. While a little bit may help with heart disease, drinking often can cause many complication in aging adults. Also, remember to consult your pharmacists on how alcohol may impact your medications.

Schedule a tour with Sugar Hill today for information on our dining services!

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