No matter how old we are, healthy food is an essential ingredient for healthy living. Food choices that we make today have a profound effect on our long-term health. In this article, you will find the benefits of healthy nutrition, and 9 tips for healthy nutrition across ages.
Why is nutrition important?
Food choices that we make today have a profound effecton our long-term health. Good nutrition combined with physical activity reduces risk of diabetes, heart problems, and cancer. Although healthy nutrition is essential to our wellbeing, a typical diet in our country often includes unhealthy amounts of saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and refined grains, while lacking recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, dairy products and healthy oils.
9 Tips for Healthy Nutrition:
- Drink plenty of fluids.
Did you know that water helps with digestion, absorbing nutrients, and promoting healthy bowel movements? As we age, we may not feel thirsty as often, but it is important to hydrate with water throughout the day.
- Make meal times a social event.
Meals are more enjoyable and pleasing when we share them with good company. 70 Strong connects you to adult activity centers in our are that provide social meals, such as Fair Oaks Adult Activity Center in Redwood City and Little House Cafe in Menlo Park.
- Plan for Healthy Meals.
Resources like Choose My Plate can be used as a guide to planning healthy, nutritious meals. The diagram below shows you which proportions of food groups to focus on. If you are lactose intolerant, dairy can include lactose-free options such as almond milk.
- Take it to go.
Are you eating too much? Some restaurants serve one meal that is enough food for two or three meals! When this happens, take food to-go and enjoy it the next day.
- Enjoy a rainbow of vegetables.
Vegetables are rich in nutrients, so don’t forget to enjoy different types and colors! Fruits and vegetables such as raspberries, tomatoes, cherries, and beets are rich in antioxidants, which promote good heart health and boost your immune system. Blue and purple fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, also have antioxidant properties. Orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as carrots provide Vitamin A, which supports healthy vision.
- Be nice to your gums and teeth!
Did you know that what you eat can impact your dental health? Sugary and starchy foods such as crackers, cookies,etc. can collect at the gum line which can lead to gum complications and cavities. In addition, nutrition-related conditions such as diabetes can impact your dental health. Consult your doctor and dentist to learn more about how conditions like diabetes can impact your teeth and gums.
- Store and prepare food safely.
To avoid food poisoning, it is important to throw out any food that may be unsafe to eat. You can also avoid foods that may contain harmful bacteria such as unpasteurized dairy, undercooked or raw meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and sprouts.
- Read nutrition labels.
Nutrition labels tell you how many calories and how much sugar, sodium, and fat is in your food. Look for foods that are low in sugar, sodium, and saturated fats. For example, it is recommended that healthy adults should consume no more than 25-30 grams of added sugar per day, but many foods contain more than the recommended daily amount of sugar in just one serving!
- Consult your physician.
Consult your physician before starting any changes to your diet as well as taking any dietary supplements.
Written by Didem K.Unver, BSN, RN and Cat Bottini, MPH.