Eating well is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are. But for seniors, the benefits of a healthy diet can be especially important.
“Eating well gives your body the right nutrients to help keep you energized while preventing muscle and bone loss so you can remain active and independent as you age,” explains Renee Greene, Wellness Dietitian at CVMC’s Health First Center. “It also lowers your risk of developing chronic health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.”
The National Council on Aging suggests these healthy-eating tips:
1. Know what a healthy plate looks like
For a simple way to see what you should eat each day, use MyPlate. This graphic shows exactly how the five food groups should stack up on your plate. These are the building blocks for a healthy diet.
2. Look for important nutrients
Make sure you eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Your plate should look like a rainbow—bright, colored foods are always the best choice! A healthy meal should include:
- Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
- Fruits and vegetables (think orange, red, green, and purple)
- Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
- Low-fat dairy (milk and its alternatives)
Remember to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt. Also, look for Vitamin D, an important mineral as we age.
3. Read the Nutrition Facts label
The healthiest foods are whole foods. These are often found on the perimeter of the grocery store in the produce, meat, and dairy sections. When you do eat packaged foods, be a smart shopper! Read the labels to find items that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium.
4. Use recommended servings
Learn to recognize the right amount of food for your age and body so you can control portion size to maintain a healthy weight.
5. Stay hydrated
Water is an important nutrient too! Don’t let yourself get dehydrated—drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. In addition to water, the best beverage choices include milk, 100 percent juices, and unsweetened tea or coffee. Keep fluids with sugar and salt at a minimum, unless your doctor has suggested otherwise.
Interested in more useful health tips like this? Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter. Health First News serves as your smart, simple connect to current health topics, inspiring patient stores and information on health screenings as well as upcoming events and support groups at Catawba Valley Medical Center.
The Health First Center also offers a broad array of programs and wellness services specifically for the seniors of our community. For more information please contact Carol Robinson by telephone 828.485.2696 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.