You’d be hard pressed to speak to any medical professional who doesn’t champion healthy eating as a way to live a fruitful life. Pun intended. Choosing healthy food options is an important way to maintain optimum health for people of all ages. However, as you can imagine, eating the right foods is an especially important responsibility of the elderly. So what are the smartest dietary choices for seniors to make?
Reduce your red meat intake.
This suggestion should probably come as no surprise. With each passing year, more evidence is released citing red meat as a known contributor to such ailments as heart disease and cancer. As Lawrence Robinson and Dr. Jeanne Segal point out on HelpGuide.org, people who are especially at risk are those who consume processed meat products like hot dogs, bacon and salami. Instead of indulging in these unhealthy foods, older adults should vary their sources of protein.
“As you age, eating enough high-quality protein can improve your mood, boost your resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression, and even help you think more clearly,” write Robinson and Segal, “Vary your sources of protein instead of relying on just red meat by including more fish, beans, peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds in your diet.”
Consume foods high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Most of us hear the word “fat” and recoil in horror. It’s important to remember that there is such a thing as “good fat”. Avocados, for example, contain oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been associated with reduced inflammation. It has also been shown to have beneficial effects on genes linked to cancer. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are also important for the elderly because of their anti-inflammatory benefits.
According to Aging.com, omega-3 fatty acids have also been found to slow down the progression of Macular Degeneration (AMD) and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. “They can be found in fish mainly sardines, tuna, mackerel, and salmon,” reports the site, “They are also found in flaxseed, soybeans, canola oil, and walnuts. Nutritionists recommend a serving of omega-3 fatty acids twice a week.”
Choose whole grains over processed white flour.
Who doesn’t love cookies, crackers and cakes? These carbohydrate and sugar-rich foods are adored by nearly everyone. While they satisfy taste buds, such junk foods are awful for the rest of your body. Robinson and Segal note that senses of taste and smell diminish with age. As a result, many seniors tend to consume more sugar and refined carbs. However, this is simply unhealthy.
“Unlike complex carbs that are rich in fibre, refined or simple carbs (such as white rice, white flour, refined sugar) can lead to a dramatic spike in blood sugar, followed by a rapid crash which leaves you feeling hungry and prone to overeating,” write Robinson and Segal.
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