Making The Change to Eating Healthier
As we age, there are changes in the way our body works and what it requires to function at its best. Those changes include nutrition. Often, people believe that once you reach your 60s your body does not need as many nutrients. It is also commonly thought that what you are eating does not matter.
Nutrition is important at any age. Knowing the right foods to eat is necessary because of the many changes that happen as you get older. These changes in our senses, energy, function, and other areas impact nutritional needs and overall health.
Here are some general quick tips for eating nutritionally:
Know the Nutrients You Need – Each person is different. While everyone can benefit from different nutrients, the exact needs of each person does come into play. Speaking with your doctor will help you know what nutrients and supplements you need.
Use MyPlate – The days of the food pyramid are gone. The USDA introduced a new way to look at food intake: MyPlate. MyPlate visualizes the portion of dairy, fruits, grains, vegetables and proteins you should have at each meal. The focus is on realizing that everything we eat and drink matters, and the right mix can help you stay healthier now and in the future. Visit choosemyplate.gov for more information.
Read the label – Have you ever witnessed people standing in the aisle at the grocery store, intensely studying the label on every can/bag that they put in their cart? Those people have the right idea. Labels hold key information about nutrition. When you ignore that information you could be missing that the item has high sodium or added sugar. If you know exactly what is going into your body, you are more likely to know how much of it is truly good for your health, improving your diet.
Stay Hydrated – Did you know that your body is 60% water? Water helps with circulation, temperature regulation, and the transportation of nutrients. That’s great, right?! Except that we lose some of that water every day through things like skin evaporation and breathing. When the water that is going into your body does not equal the water that is coming out, that’s when you can become dehydrated. Drinking eight – 8 oz. glasses of water (for the average person) and ingesting foods like fruits and vegetables will help your body stay hydrated. As always, speak with your doctor first on what foods you should be eating and any concerns you may have.
If adapting a healthy diet is not something that you’re used to then it may seem like a huge leap. Start small; little adjustments like using spices and herbs instead of salt, or adding fruit and vegetables to your snacks can do wonders for increasing your nutrient intake.
Making the change to eating healthy will help your body function well and can assist in preventing avoidable health problems. Make sure you consult with your doctor on your personal nutrition needs. Happy healthy eating!