In a recent blog post, I offered several tips on how to prevent illness. Included on the list was the idea of sticking to a well-rounded diet. Can you imagine that making just a few simple changes to your diet can help prevent certain forms of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease? As adults age, they are at risk for developing chronic diseases that can threaten their overall health and ultimately, their independence. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and high fiber foods can go a long way in helping to keep us healthy and active. Of course, we need to add physical activity into the mix, but that is a topic for another blog!
Paying attention to the types of foods is as importantas the serving sizes. I recommend consulting a registered dietician to help you figure out how many calories you should be consuming each day. This will be calculated based on your body type and level of activity. Older adults should be certain to report all medications, including over-the-counter ones. That is because some medications interact with certain foods. For example, if you take a medication to lower your cholesterol, you sould be avoiding grapefruit.
In future blogs on this subject, I will offer simple tips to help you understand the power of nutrition. I will cover topics such as cholesterol, the important of low-sodium diets and tips for eating out. As a diabetic myself, I will share a whole host of tips that I have found successful in keeping my blood sugar levels even. You will read about tools of the trade and tips to help make meal preparation easy, especially if you suffer from the stiffness and pain of arthritis. I will share tips to help you stretch your dollar. After all, who doesn't like to save money? I will occasionally share a recipe that is healthy, easy to prepare, and best of all, tastes DELICIOUS! Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to sacrifice flavor! I invite you to share your healthy recipes too! In the meantime, I would like to share some general guidelines for eating healthier:
- Eat 5-6 SMALL meals a day, trying to combine a protein and carbohydrate each time. Examples include low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers, or peanut butter on whole grain bread. Dizziness and the possibility of falling can occur when blood sugar levels are not kept even. Eating small snacks throughout the day will help prevent such threats.
- Reduce the amount of salt you eat. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure, threatening a stroke.
- Strive to eat at least 3 servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
- Reduce the amount of highly sugared drinks and foods you consume.
- Choose lean protein such as chicken or fish. Broiling or baking is the best method.
- Eat red meat sparingly.
- Use low-fat or non-fat milk, yogurt, and cheeses.
- Increase the amount of fiber in your diet with foods such as oatmeal, brown rice instead of white, and whole wheat breads and pastas.
- Experiment with different types of grains such as quinoa, farro, couscous, or barley. Certain grains, like couscous and farro, are great sources of protein, an added bonus!
- Pack healthy snacks when heading out for the day. You will be less likely to stop at the local donut shop when you suddenly feel hungry.
Remember, Rome was not built in a day! It is all about making small changes slowly. Making wise food choices is part of a healthy lifestyle, not a prison sentence! Be kind to yourself--go ahead and treat yourself to a favorite dessert every now and then! Just keep an eye on theserving size.
It is my hope that the tips I offer you in future blogs will be helpful to you. If it my goal to help build your confidence so you can make informed decisions to keep you healthy and active. If you enjoy reading my blogs, please share them with others who may benefit from the various topics I write about.