5 Tips for Healthy Eating as We Age

5HealthyEatingTips calorie chart (NewsUSA) – Good nutrition plays an important role in how well you age. Eating a healthful diet helps keep your body strong and can help reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and osteoporosis. Studies even show a link between healthful eating and longevity.

"As we age, the body becomes less efficient at absorbing some key nutrients. Appetite and
taste can suffer from loss of sense of smell and taste or from side effects of medications. Bad
teeth can make some foods difficult to chew or digest," said Arthur Hayward, MD, a geriatrician and
the clinical lead physician for elder care with Kaiser Permanente's Care Management Institute. "So
choosing foods carefully is smart."

Here are five tips to help you get the nutrition your body needs:

1. Avoid empty calories.

Foods with empty calories may contain very few vitamins and minerals.
"Convenience foods," such as packaged snacks, chips and sodas, are common sources of empty
calories. Avoid the "bad" carbs — foods that have white flour, refined sugar and white

2. Choose nutrient-rich foods.

Eat a variety of foods. The more you vary the foods you eat, the more vitamins, minerals and
other nutrients you get. For example:

* Eat lots of fruits and vegetables — Choose fresh, frozen or no-salt canned
vegetables and fruits in their own juice or light syrup.

* Eat foods with protein — Protein is found in lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and cheese,
cooked beans, peanut butter and nuts and seeds.

* Get enough calcium and vitamin D — Calcium and vitamin D are found in milk and milk
products, including yogurt and cheese. They are also in green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale,
collard greens) and tofu.

* Include foods high in vitamin B12 — After 50, the body produces less gastric acid and
absorbs less B12, which helps keep blood and nerves vital. B12 is found in milk, meat, poultry,
fish and eggs.

* Eat high-fiber foods — This includes fruits, vegetables, cooked dried beans and whole

3. Drink plenty of fluids.

Drink plenty of fluids — enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like
water. Fiber and fluids help with constipation.

4. If your appetite is poor

Try eating smaller meals, several times a day, instead of one or two large meals. Eating
while socializing with others may help your appetite. You might also ask about changing medicines.
Medication can cause appetite or taste problems.

5. Eat soft foods.

As we approach our senior years, chewing food is sometimes difficult. Choose low-sodium
canned vegetables or cooked fruits and vegetables. These are often softer. Chop or shred meat,
poultry or fish. Add sauce or gravy to the meat to help keep it moist.

For healthy recipe ideas, check out Kaiser Permanente's Food for Health blog at

In addition to eating a balanced diet, aim for 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
Ten-minute sessions several times a day on most days are fine. For more information, visit kp.org
and everybodywalk.org. For questions or advice about a specific condition, talk with your

I’m Liz Craven, and I live in Lakeland, FL with my husband Wes and our menagerie of pets (our kids are grown up now and killing the whole adulting thing). We own a local publishing company, Pro-Ad Media, and for the last 25 years have been providing digest sized publications featuring various aspects of Polk County life. Having lived here for most of my adult life, I have a pretty good handle on what makes a community special. I serve on multiple boards, and I love connecting people to each other and to local organizations that can enrich their lives.

The inspiration for the first printed ElderCare Guide came from my own experience learning to navigate the senior care world for family and wishing I had a handy resource. With our website, we can now provide tools and assistance to family members wherever they are.

Though I’m new to the blogging scene, anyone who knows me knows I almost always have something to say. Originally, I thought this was going to be my blog about all things seniors, a vehicle to share what I know about seniors that might be of interest and helpful to others. Then I realized this should be a bigger conversation, one that we need to have as a community. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of meeting engaged and passionate people who have dedicated themselves to making Polk County a great place to live for people of all ages. This conversation should include them, and it should include you. So, while you will hear from me personally on a regular basis, you will also hear from local leaders and professionals who will shed light on different topics related to senior adults. As a local conversation, those who share here are accessible to you in case you have more questions about their topics (see, there is that connecting people thing again. So much fun!).

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