Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors
As you age, good nutrition is key to keeping your brain sharp, your energy up, and your immune system strong.
A well-balanced diet can also help to lower your risk of certain chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.
While good nutrition is important at any stage in life, seniors should take extra care due to physical changes that occur as you age. Take a look at the following tips to help you make healthy food choices.
Build healthy plates of food
One way to help balance your diet is to pay attention to which food groups fill up your plate.
Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health recommends the following:
- ½ of your plate should be comprised of fruits and vegetables (besides potatoes, which can negatively impact blood sugar). The more colorful veggies, the better!
- ¼ of your plate should be whole grains such as quinoa, oats, brown rice, etc.
- ¼ of your plate should be lean proteins such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts.
You can use this Healthy Eating Plate tool as a visual guide to help you assess your meals.
Incorporate plenty of fiber into your diet
Fiber is crucial for digestive health. It can also help you reduce cholesterol, maintain a healthy weight, and decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes or heart disease.
Good sources of dietary fiber include fruits and vegetables, quinoa, oatmeal, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
If you're having trouble getting enough fiber through meals, you might want to consider a fiber supplement such as Metamucil.
Eat healthy fats, but limit saturated or trans fats
You shouldn’t cut all fat out of your diet, but it’s important to pay attention to what kind of fat is in your food.
Healthy fats include oils such as olive, safflower, or peanut oil. You should also try to eat avocados, nuts, and fatty fish such as salmon or sardines.
Limit intake of foods high in saturated fats, such as fatty beef, pork, butter, and cheese.
Fast foods and highly processed convenience foods (fried chicken, French fries, doughnuts, chips, packaged baked goods, etc.) can contain unhealthy trans fats and should be avoided.
Did you know that as you get older, you actually need to drink more water? Even if you’re not thirsty, you must make sure to hydrate throughout the day.
Limit caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate your body.
Plain water is the best drink for your health. But if you enjoy milk in your coffee or sugar in your tea, it’s not the end of the world.
Try to substitute healthier alternatives to your favorite drinks if you can. Shift from whole milk to low-fat or fat-free, choose sparkling water instead of soda, and if you can’t give up sweet tea, try diluting it with some unsweetened tea to lower your sugar intake.
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Your health is your priority. Here at Hawthorne Pharmacy, it’s our priority, too. For convenient, customer-centered care that always puts your needs first, go with an independent, South Carolina based pharmacy—one that has a 70-year track record of improving health outcomes for its patients.
Our friendly and knowledgeable pharmacists can advise you about vitamins and nutritional supplements, and even help you understand how they may interact with your prescriptions.