How to Adjust Your Diet for Healthy Living as You Age
A balanced diet has impactful benefits for your physical and mental health, and it’s never too late to change your eating habits, even if you are in your 70s or beyond. In fact, a healthy diet can help lower the risk of many diseases and mental illnesses that seniors are susceptible to, ranging from high blood pressure to depression. When looking for ways to change your diet, you may feel challenged, but there are a few easy steps you can take today toward a healthier lifestyle.
Reduce and Eliminate Salt
Eating a lot of foods with high salt content can contribute to high blood pressure, and most seniors who are at risk of developing this condition are encouraged to reduce or eliminate the salt they eat. Foods with high sodium content on their nutrition labels should be avoided. These often include salty snacks like potato chips, as well as less obvious items like frozen pizzas, salad dressings and canned meats.
Eat in Small Portions
While it may not sound logical, eating many small meals every day is a healthier option than consuming just one or two large meals a day. This is especially helpful for those looking to maintain a healthy body weight since this can help stop excess food cravings. It is recommended to eat at least three meals a day, and healthy snacking can provide additional nutrition.
Small portions are key for seniors focused on healthy eating, too, since many small portions of different menu items make it easy to consume the diverse nutrients and vitamins your body needs. Instead of loading up your dinner plate with just one type of food, be sure to cut back and balance your intake of meat or protein with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Stick to Water
While it is fine for adults over 70 to have a soda every once in a while, daily consumption of beverages that are high in sugar is not an ideal choice when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet. Not only do these drinks add extra sugar and sodium to your diet, but they can also cause dental issues like gum disease.
Instead of drinking soda, juice, or sports drinks daily, reach for a glass of water. Water is the best drink for keeping the body hydrated, and ensuring that you get enough of it every day can improve organ function, promote brain health and so much more.
Cook for Yourself
While it feels convenient to buy pre-made meals from the grocery store or from a restaurant, you can’t control what ingredients are used in those meals. And, while some places do offer relatively healthy meal options, most premade meals come with high levels of fat, sugar and sodium content, which may negatively impact your health in the long run.
To ensure your meals are made with healthy ingredients, consider preparing them yourself based on healthy recipes. Many recipes can be found online and in cookbooks for those with certain health needs, too, such as those with diabetes.
If you struggle to cook for yourself or feel you need more help with your daily nutrition, know that there are many senior living communities that can provide healthy meals for you. For example, The Davis Community has a wide range of healthy options with an on-site chef and numerous dining venues from which to choose. To learn more about dining at The Davis Community, visit our website or call us at 910-686-7195.