With an increasing occurrence of chronic diseases, developing healthy, nutritional habits as we age should be a priority for everyone. To maintain a healthy lifestyle and avoid preventable diseases, it’s important to pay attention to nutrition and physical activity patterns in all stages of life.
While certain health issues are unavoidable, many more are influenced by behaviors such as eating a healthy diet and staying physically active. While prevention is often the focus of younger and middle-aged adults, maintaining current levels of health and managing diseases should also be the focus of older adults. By paying close attention to your diet and physical activity, the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle can be realized at any age. Aging is part of life, but a healthy lifestyle can improve your quality of life.
Proper nutrition helps you maintain your muscles, bones, organs and other parts of your body for the long haul. A proper diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, bone loss, anemia and cancer. Eating well also keeps your mind sharper and helps your brain function more efficiently. Consumption of antioxidant-rich foods may lead to enhanced memory and mental alertness. Lastly, a healthy diet can help you feel better and increase your energy. If your body feels good, then you feel happier—inside and out.
Here are a few tips on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your diet:
• Fruits—Focus on consuming whole fruit instead of juices. Whole fruits have more fiber and vitamins.
• Vegetables—Color is king. Try to eat dark, leafy greens, as they’re full of vitamins.
• Calcium—Good sources of calcium, such as milk, yogurt and cheese, help strengthen your bones.
• Grains—Whole- and multi-grain foods are better than processed white flour.
• Proteins—Try to divide your intake equally throughout the day and remember to vary sources of protein.