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Home > Food & Nutrition > Ways to eat well as you age

Ways to eat well as you age

Who doesnít know that eating well is vital for everyone of all ages? Whatever your age, gender, or race your daily food choices can and will make an important difference in your overall health and also in how you look and feel. Itís as easy as eating a well planned, balanced mixture of foods every day. That alone has tremendous health benefits.

Take for example; eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type II diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. If you already have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them over time.

Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and manage your diabetes. Eating well gives you the nutrients needed to keep your muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life. Many of these nutrients include vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water found in the foods you eat. Eating well helps keep your energy level up too. By consuming plenty of calories you give your body the fuel it needs throughout the day to function correctly. The number of calories needed depends on how old you are, whether you're a man or woman, and how active you are. Consuming the right number of calories for your level of physical activity helps you control your weight, also.

Extra weight is a concern for many older adults because it can increase the risk for diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease and can severely increase joint problems. Eating more calories than your body needs for your activity level will lead to un wanted extra pounds! If you become less physically active as you age, you will probably need fewer calories to stay at the same weight. Choosing mainly nutrient-dense foods (foods which are high in nutrients but low in calories) can give you the nutrients you need while keeping down your caloric intake. Your food choices also influence your digestive process. For example, too little fiber or fluid may cause unwanted constipation.

Note: Eating more whole-grain foods, fruits and vegetables or drinking more water may help with constipation. To eat healthier, you can begin by taking small steps, making one simple change at a time. For example, you might buy whole-grain bread, leaner meats, or more fruits and vegetables when you shop rather than that bag of candy, or pint of ice cream that is so tempting! These simple changes may be easier than you think. They're possible even if you need help with shopping or cooking, or if you have a limited budget. I know it is said over and over again that eating healthy is expensive, but it does not have to be!

If you have a specific medical condition, be sure to check with your doctor or dietitian about foods you should include or avoid. Eating well is part of a healthy lifestyle that you can adopt now and stay with in the years to come. It has its many benefits for the time being, and for what your future may hold! Whatever your age, you can start making positive lifestyle changes today. Eating well can help you stay healthy and independent and always look and feel good for the many years to come. Happy Eating!

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