Posted by: Patricia Hysong | January 12, 2012

Healthy Eating After 50 Part 2

As we age, our bodies seem to develop minds of their own. We, over night it seems like at times, can no longer do what we have always done, eat what we have always ate, weight what we have always weighed, and in general, function as we always have. Below are a few items to think about and to investigate further if they apply to you.

→ Become more active by getting at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity in everyday. It’s amazing how a little movement can make you feel better both physically and mentally. Remember to start slow and confer with your doctor to make sure you are taking the right steps to a longer, more healthy life.

→ As we age, our taste buds change and certain medications can change the taste of foods and as well as cause a loss of appetite. Discussing these things with your doctor will benefit you and your taste buds.

→ Just as our taste buds change, the body may also not tolerate some of the foods that we love and have eaten all our lives. Again, if you have having trouble eating certain thing, discuss what options may be available to you with your physician.

→ Dental issues can drastically affect our choices at meal time. Dentures that do not fit well or problems with existing teeth may make eating painful and just not worth it. Working with your dentist and other health care professionals can increase your ability to make healthy diet choices.

→ When examining what you are eating, don’t forget to examine that food label. Make sure you are aware of the serving size involved with the different food items you choose because they are rarely the same amounts from item to item. Also be aware of what the ingredients are in the foods you eat. They are listed on the label from largest amounts to smallest amounts.

→ Aging may cause the loss of your sense of thirst, but getting plenty of liquids daily is essential for your physical well-being. Try to drink several large glasses of water each day. If part of the reason you are not drinking as much has to do with you have trouble controlling your bladder, share your concerns with your physician. Do not limit your liquid intake because that can lead to dehydration and other problems. There are medications available that help with bladder control problems.

→ Making sure we have enough fiber in our diets can help prevent stomach and intestinal problems as well as possibly helping to lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Begin by slowly adding foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains to increase your intake. You’ll want to introduce these high fiber foods slowly to help avoid unwanted gas issues. Adding more fiber the easy way can include:

  • Eating cooked dry beans, peas and lentils frequently
  • Leaving skins on your fruits and vegetable (make sure to thoroughly wash them before eating)
  • Eating more whole fruit instead of just drinking fruit juices
  • Choosing whole-grain breads and cereals over those with less complex grains
  • Continuing to drink plenty of liquids to keep the fiber moving through your system

→ Although our bodies need sodium to maintain good health, many people tend to eat way more than is needed. About ⅔ of a teaspoon of table salt (1500 mg of sodium) daily, is all that is typically needed for someone over 50. Most fresh foods contain some sodium and salt is added to many pre-packaged foods and then to add table salt to our meals can really affect our health. This is another situation where reading the label is very important. Check out other herbs and spices to add flavor so you won’t miss the salt as well as the “low-sodium” options offered in the grocery store.

→Dietary fat can come from what is already in food or what you add to food when cooking it. Certain kinds of fats can give you energy and help our bodies use certain vitamins but it is usually high in calories. A few steps you can take to reduce the amount of fat in your diet include choosing leaner cuts of meat, removing extra fat and skin before cooking meat, fish or poultry, cook in non-stick pots and pans or use non-fat cooking sprays, and use your steamer, oven or microwave instead of frying your meals.

If you are trying to include a healthier diet in your lifestyle, moving in that direction at a slower pace to start with can help you make the transition easier and can help you stick with it. Start smaller but increase your knowledge and awareness as you continue your journey to better health. Don’t become content with the changes that you have completed, set new goals and delve deeper into what really works for you and how you can achieve new, higher levels of wellness in your life.

Before making any changes that could affect your health, always consult a medical professional.

 This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.

This information is adapted from National Institute on Aging and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

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