“Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedman
Many people seem to think that aging means the end of happy days and active lifestyles. That’s not the case. These days, many individuals aged 60 and above are slowly discovering ways in which they can defy, if not slow down, the otherwise natural process known as aging. While one cannot completely stop this, there are ways to minimize the effects of aging.
On the top of the list is a healthy and well-balanced diet. This would be made up of the following kinds of food.
- Fruits and veggies. It is recommended that at least five servings of vegetables and two servings of fruits be consumed every day.
- Reduce carbohydrate intake. Carbohydrates, especially those high in starch, are harder to burn, so they should be taken in moderation. Wholegrains are better because of the fiber content, which helps digestion.
- Non-dairy sources of protein. This includes meat, eggs, and beans. Fish is also a very good source of protein. At least two servings of these should be included in the weekly diet.
- Very limited amounts of food high in fat and sugar.
What should you be eating?
Digestion tends to slow down in older people. This may lead to problems such as constipation, which is a common complaint in older people. Food that’s rich in fiber aids in digestion and helps prevent problems involving the digestive system.
Another common problem in older people is anemia caused by iron deficiency. This may lead to lethargy and other health issues. Food rich in iron may prevent these problems from happening.
A very good source of iron is liver. Liver, however, should still be eaten in moderation despite its high iron content due to its high vitamin A content. vitamin A taken in excess may lead to problems such as osteoporosis; thus, intake should be controlled.
Other than liver, other iron sources include lean meat from beef, lamb, veal, and pork. Legumes, such as beans and lentils, are also good sources of iron. Certain kinds of fish, such as sardines and eggs, bread, and green, leafy vegetables, are all good sources of iron!
Another common problem in older people is osteoporosis which leads to weakened bones. Weak bones may lead to bone fractures, especially hip fractures, which are common in the elderly. To prevent this, older people should also consume food rich in calcium. In fact, for people aged 60 and above, calcium is not as easily absorbed from one’s diet. It is recommended that extra serving of calcium-rich food, such as yogurt, milk, and cheese, be consumed by people in this age group.
Reduce sodium intake
Salt makes food taste good. However, this may also be a cause of hypertension, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
It is recommended that food low in sodium be consumed by older individuals. Always check food labels to see the amount of salt in the food that you buy. Go for those labeled to be low in sodium.
Take those vitamins
Make vitamins a part of your diet to help prevent health issues related to aging. One pretty ignored vitamin is vitamin D, which helps in maintaining your immune system. vitamin D also helps in keeping your bones strong. vitamin D, however, is not easily provided, even in a well-balanced diet. A good source, though, is sunlight. Ensure that you get a good number of hours outdoors and enjoy the sunshine to get the needed amount of vitamin D.
One vitamin that should be kept within the daily recommended amount is vitamin A. The daily recommended dosage of vitamin A is 1.5 milligrams. Too much vitamin A may weaken the bones and lead to osteoporosis, hence reducing liver consumption in moderation. Liver, although rich in iron, is also rich in vitamin A. Too much liver may increase the levels of vitamin A in the body as well. This should be avoided at all costs.
Other Things To Consider
If weight has been an issue for you in your younger days, it should be more of an issue. Staying within a healthy weight range helps prevent weight-related diseases such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
It is, however, equally important that you do not go below a healthy weight range either. Becoming underweight may mean that you may be missing out on important nutrients, which may lead to other health issues as well. A lack of nutrients may lead to bone problems, too, which may result in further complications.
Make sure that you maintain a healthy appetite. Slowed digestion may make it difficult for you to process the food that you eat. Small but frequent meals may make it easier for you to digest the food you eat while maintaining the necessary caloric requirements. Eat regularly to meet your nutritional needs. If food preparation proves to be difficult, keep a stock of ready-made meals within reach to make things easier for you.
Keep yourself well hydrated. Make sure to drink at least six glasses of liquids in a day. Certain beverages, such as tea and coffee, may make you urinate more often. In such a case, make sure that you replace the amount of fluid loss not to end up dehydrated.
A healthy body starts from good eating habits and nutrition. Keeping that in mind will help you stay in top condition. After all, like what many people say, age is just a number.