Eating a well-rounded diet is important for everyone, regardless of age. But as we get older, our bodies undergo changes that affect our dietary needs. Eating well can reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure as you age. If you are suffering from a chronic disease, maintaining a healthy diet can help you manage it.
At East Meadow Medical P.C., Dr. Sebeen Razzaq-Ahmed and her team are here to help you understand your needs and your health as you age. We work with you to focus your diet on nutrient-rich foods that are high in critical vitamins and minerals, and balance carbohydrates and fats.
Being thoughtful about what you eat will help give you higher energy levels and improve your overall quality of life. Though everyone’s nutritional needs are different, our tips will help guide you to finding a healthy diet that works for you.
1. Eat fruit and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients, fiber, and are fairly low in calories. You can eat frozen, canned, or fresh fruits and veggies. If slicing or cutting is difficult for you, look for pre-sliced fruits and vegetables when you’re grocery shopping.
2. Vary your sources of protein.
Look to lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and peas for protein. Vegetarian protein gives you the nutrients without the saturated fats that come with some meats. Protein gives you energy and helps keep your bones, muscles, and skin healthy.
3. Add in healthy fats.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are known as “healthy” fats. These fats give you energy and keep your heart and brain healthy. Adding foods like avocados, fatty fish, nuts, and extra virgin olive oil to your diet will help you increase your intake of healthy fats.
4. Switch to whole grains.
Whole grains are a good source of fiber, which is essential to a healthy diet and helps to reduce your risk of heart disease and high cholesterol. These days, it’s easy to add whole grains to your diet. You can find whole grain varieties of bread, pasta, cereal, and more.
5. Get enough low-fat dairy.
Consume about three servings of dairy each day for bone health. Low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese all provide necessary calcium to ward off osteoporosis and keep your bones healthy.
6. Avoid extra salt.
Instead of adding salt to your meals for flavor, season your food with spices and herbs instead. Herbs like rosemary, basil, and sage, and spices like pepper, paprika, and turmeric are all healthy choices that will keep your food from tasting bland.
7. Drink plenty of water.
Your sense of thirst can decrease as you age, so it’s important to drink water regularly to avoid dehydration. You can also drink low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice to stay hydrated.
8. Talk with us about your medications.
Some medications can affect your sense of hunger or thirst, or they can interfere with the foods you eat. To make sure you are getting the most out of your medications and your diet, talk to Dr. Razzaq-Ahmed.
9. Keep your food safe.
Food-related illness can be dangerous for seniors. You should avoid unpasteurized dairy and raw meats. Always make sure to store and cook foods properly, and throw out foods that have gone bad.
10. Plan healthy meals.
Taking the time to make a meal plan can help you stick to your healthy eating habits. It’s easier to make a healthy meal if you have the ingredients at hand, and you’re less likely to choose a quick, more unhealthy option like fast food or a salty snack.
In addition to following these healthy eating tips for seniors, consider adding physical activity to your routine. Dr. Razzaq-Ahmed can help you assess your current physical health, and work with you to develop a fitness plan that is safe for you. Coupling regular physical activity with a healthy eating plan can keep you energetic and enjoying life for many years to come.
Do you have questions about your diet, aging, or overall wellbeing? We can help. Our caring team at East Meadow Medical P.C. is here to guide you through your golden years and keep you enjoying life. Call us today, or book your appointment online to get started.