Good meals, nutrition and regular exercise add up to a healthy and happy life. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said, “All disease begins by way of the stomach.” What you eat has a lot to do with how healthy you will be, especially in your later years. As time goes on, your body weakens and you need to make a special effort to eat right and stay healthy.
Eat healthy? Yes, you can do it!
Here at Destiny Senior Care we hope to pass along the basics of good eating so your loved one can enjoy good health as they grow older.
Below is a summary of the excellent video shown above, “My Plate” developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
My Plate Summary
Our nutritional needs change as we age. We become less active, our metabolism slows down, and we cannot absorb some nutrients as easily. You want the foods that you eat to be rich in vitamins and minerals.
The daily plate is divided into five sections:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Proteins and oils
- Herbs, spices and fluids
Half of the plate is fruits and vegetables. It’s important to eat different colored vegetables each day. They provide different nutrients and fiber: fresh, frozen, pre-peeled fresh, dried, and low sodium and low-sugar canned are all great options for nutritious fruits and vegetables.
A quarter of the plate should be whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta or whole wheat bread. Whole-grains and cereals are great ways to great vitamins and fiber. Your plate should include several servings of dairy products, such as fat-free dairy products like milk, cheese and yogurts that give us protein, calcium and other nutrients.
Protein-rich foods like nuts, fish, beans, eggs, meats and poultry are great for providing nutrients. Prepare these foods with only a little salt and butter. Use liquid oils such as soy, corn, canola, and olive when preparing for cooking. They can be used for salad dressings, too.
Drink fluids, especially in warmer weather. Fluids can be water, tea or coffee, as well as from foods such as soups, fruits and vegetables. As we get older our bodies demand less fluid but we will need liquids to regulate body temperature, transport nutrients and lubricate joints. Instead of using a lot of salt, use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of foods, and to add variety to your diet.
Eating meals of a variety of foods will aid your health, but what is also needed is to keep active, such as walking, biking, gardening and swimming. These all help reduce your chances of disease and disability and help you stay independent. Making small changes and being consistent is the best way to making improvements to eating and staying fit. If you are making major changes, check with your doctor. It’s never too late to improve your eating and exercise habits.