By the time you reach your sunset years, you’ve likely seen quite a few shifts in the way society talks about nutrition. You might remember fads like the “Grapefruit Diet” in the ’70s, the “Liquid Diet” in the ’80s, the low-fat craze in the ’90s, and the Atkins Diet in the ’00s. Depending on the decade, basic items like eggs and bread may have been embraced as part of a healthy diet or rejected because of their cholesterol and carbs. Our idea of a nutritious diet shouldn’t be at the whim of current trends, though it often feels that way. Let’s get back to the basics. Scroll down for some simple, no-nonsense nutrition tips for seniors.
Nutrition Tips for Seniors
Discuss your diet with your doctor.
In your senior years, it’s not uncommon to have special dietary needs due to health conditions or medications. Sometimes, even foods considered indisputably healthy are no longer a good idea. For example, people who are prescribed the medication warfarin, which is used to prevent harmful blood clots, are instructed not to eat foods high in vitamin K, which include nutritious leafy greens like spinach, kale, and broccoli. Who would’ve guessed that spinach could be bad for your health? Suffice it to say that if you’re taking a closer look at your diet, it’s crucial that you talk to your doctor or a registered dietician for personalized advice.
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
These three basic rules of nutrition come from Michael Pollan, a journalist and professor known for his books about nutrition. These rules work for people of all ages, not just seniors.
When it comes to the first rule, Pollan is referring to the fact that it’s better to eat whole fresh foods than processed food products. These days, many “edible foodlike substances” are available, but he doesn’t consider them “food.” Instead, look at the nutritional label and see if you recognize the ingredients. Better yet, stick with fresh produce for the majority of your meal! The second rule is simpler: watch your portion sizes. Finally, as per the third rule, vegetables (especially leafy green vegetables) should make up a hefty portion of your meals.
Nutrition can be complicated, but these three simple rules will almost certainly stand the test of time.
As we age, our bodies often struggle to recognize when we need to drink more water. By the time you feel thirsty, your body may already be quite dehydrated. Especially in the summertime, when excessive heat and perspiration come into play, it’s important to drink water throughout the day to ensure your body is well hydrated. Water also helps the body digest food and absorb nutrients. Avoid sugary drinks, and stick to plain old water whenever possible.
No matter how trends change in the years to come, these tried-and-true nutrition tips for seniors will hold up. They’re simple, easy to remember, easy to embrace, and could have a profound impact on your health.
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