Healthy food and a healthy body go hand in hand, especially as we age. In fact, the key to staying healthy well into our golden years may very well have to do with diet. Eating the right foods can help you manage chronic conditions so that you spend less time and money at the doctor’s office, and treating your food as fuel can help you remember to make the right choices. What’s the best way to eat for a hearty, happy, healthy older adulthood? We have some suggestions.
- Acknowledge the dietary challenges you face as a senior. It may take longer for you to digest meals, and you might not be as interested in eating and drinking as you used to be. When you don’t feel thirsty, it can be hard to stay hydrated, and when you don’t feel like cooking or you have difficulty chewing, getting the right nutrition can be a challenge. If it becomes too difficult, talk to your doctor, who can help you find solutions to your dietary issues.
- Prioritize hydration. Drinking water is one of the most important things you can do for your body, but often, older people don’t stay well-hydrated. Many issues, like fatigue, constipation, and headaches, are the direct result of dehydration because our bodies require water to function properly. If you have trouble drinking water, you can also drink coffee and tea, but try to avoid beverages with sugar and salt as much as possible.
- Focus on nutrients. Especially if you’re eating less than you used to, make sure what you do eat is packed with the nutrients you need. Get your protein from lean meats, eggs, nuts and beans, and fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Fatty fish and nuts have the added benefit of providing you with heart and brain-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. The calcium in milk, yogurt, cheese, and leafy green vegetables can help protect against bone loss as you age, and olive oil is a healthy addition to your diet. Of course, packing your diet with nutritious produce like tomatoes, blueberries, broccoli, spinach, and citrus fruit will supply your body with important nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Think about filling your plate with fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of colors, and you’ll get a broad range of nutrients. There’s also evidence to support having a glass of red wine each day, to help lower bad cholesterol and high blood pressure, and prevent blood clots.
- Choose your carbs wisely. Get your daily carbohydrates from nutrient-dense foods like sweet potatoes, bananas, apples, beets, blueberries, oranges, quinoa, and beans, or choose whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta, cereals, and bread. Look for options that are high in fiber and low in salt, steering clear of over-processed foods with refined flours and sugar. Fiber helps prevent constipation, and lowers cholesterol, inflammation, and blood pressure, as well as helping control blood sugar levels.
- Read the labels. When you shop, stick to the perimeter of the grocery store, choosing whole foods from the produce, meat, and dairy sections as much as possible. When you do buy prepackaged foods, read the labels and make choices that are low in fat, sugars, and sodium. Pay attention to recommended serving sizes, as well, so that you can maintain a healthy weight.
Eating well is easy for residents of Parkwood Heights. On our picturesque, 122-acre senior living campus, located just minutes from Victor, Fairport, Farmington, and Canandaigua, our chef-prepared meals appeal to every palate. Our Fireside Dining Room is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, serving nutritious, restaurant-style meals with a selection of fresh, flavorful dishes. What’s more, we even offer a private dining room for entertaining family and friends. It’s just one of the things that makes Parkwood such a great place to live. Whether you’re playing a game of cards, entertaining friends, taking a walk around the campus, joining in one of our many outings, or just relaxing in our scenic setting, you’ll find Parkwood Heights a vibrant, comfortable community. Call (315) 986-9100 to learn more about all that we have to offer, or check out our website and reach out if you have any questions.