Healthy Eating for Healthy Seniors

Healthy Food 2You have heard the old adage, “You are what you eat”.  As you age, this is a very important standard to live by.  Think about eating fruits and vegetables that are vibrant and healthy, guess what?  That will help you to be vibrant and healthy.  Eating meats that are lean?  That will help you stay lean.  The benefits of eating healthy are not just related to weight.  The benefits of maintaining a healthy diet are far more reaching than just weight, especially as you age.  Having a nutritious diet is good for your mind, body and soul. A nutritious diet helps fight off illnesses and early onset diseases, increase mental acuity, and quicker recovery times. Proper diet and exercise is also the best way to get all the necessary vitamins that we need on a daily basis.  Getting your vitamins through food is a more effective method than using vitamin supplements.

According to the National Institute of Aging, women over 50, who are not physically active, need at least 1,600 calories a day. Women who are moderate in activities require 1,800 calories a day, while very active women need 2,000 calories a day.  As for men over the age of 50, non-active men need 2,000 calories a day, moderately active men need 2,200-2,400 calories a day, and very active men need 2,400-2,800 calories a day.

To function at peak performance daily, the USDA recommends you need 3-4 servings of colorful fresh or frozen fruits; 4-5 portions of dark vegetables, cooked and raw and if you can get organic, that is even better.  Three portions of cracked and whole grains along with 1-2 servings of beans and legumes, but only 2-3 portions of whole wheat pasta a week.  At least 2-6 meals a week should include fish and seafood along with 1-2 other proteins a week such as yogurt, Omega-3 enriched eggs, lean meats and skinless poultry.  Studies also show that having whole soy foods at least once or twice a day is beneficial along with using healthy spices and herbs, such as ginger, turmeric, garlic and cinnamon, which you can have in unlimited amounts.

The USDA also recommends drinking 8 servings of water daily along with plenty of milk or other calcium rich foods such as almonds, kale, and natural cheeses.  If you choose to add some fats or sweets to your diet, do so sparingly. If you need oils or fats for cooking, try to use olive oil.  Limiting the amount of red meat in your diet to just once a month, is also recommended.

Living a healthy lifestyle and having a well balanced diet as you age, will help you to feel healthier inside and out. At Senior Care Centers, our nutritionist and dietitians create menus which are all designed to meet the recommended needs for our residents.

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