Submitted by Alicia DeRuscio, B.S.
Community Education Assistant
Nutrition & Aging
As you age, your body experiences many changes. To promote a long, healthy life it’s important to fuel your body with proper nutrients. Since March is National Nutrition Month, it’s the perfect time to educate yourself on what foods to eat and how to better your health throughout each stage of life. The National Institute on Aging recommends the following:
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
Sometimes with age you lose your sense of thirst, however, it’s important to stay hydrated. Choose healthy beverages including water, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100% fruit juices to hydrate your body. Try to avoid drinks that have added sugar or excess salt as these can contribute to weight gain and cardiovascular problems.
Choose Healthy Meals
What you put into your body can greatly affect your health. Educate yourself on what foods to eat and how much you should be eating by visiting www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.
Watch Your Portion Sizes
A portion size is the amount of food you put on your plate or eat. Often times many people eat more than necessary, leading to weight gain and health problems. Therefore, it’s important to recognize how much you are eating so you can control your portions. Try using smaller plates or bowls – this will automatically make you choose smaller portions.
Vegetables, Vegetables, Vegetables!
Brighten your plate with a variety of vegetables. These are low in calories and provide the body with many nutrients and fiber.
Eat To Protect Your Teeth And Gums
As you age, you may notice changes to your teeth or gums. This can make it harder to chew certain foods like fruits, vegetables, and meats. Try eating foods that are softer, including low-sodium soups, unsweetened fruit cups, or canned tuna.
Use Herbs And Spices When You Cook
Age can affect your sense of smell and your sense of taste. Foods may seem to lose their flavor and taste differently from what they once did. Add some flavor back into your meals by using herbs and spices when cooking.
Don’t risk eating unsafe food as this can cause illness and be life-threatening to an older person. Avoid risky foods such as unpasteurized dairy or undercooked eggs, fish, meat, or poultry.
Check The Nutrition Facts Label
Know what you are purchasing and eating by looking at the nutrition facts label. Pay attention to the total calories, fats, sodium, and sugars for each food. To promote health, choose foods with fewer calories, limit the amount of fat you eat, and avoid excess salt and sugar.
Finally, Eat While Socializing!
Make your meals a time to connect with others. Plan a dinner with family or friends, or join a club or senior center to share a meal with others. This will make meal times more enjoyable, making it easier for you to be mindful of your nutrition.
If you would like to learn more, attend a special program on ‘Nutrition & Aging’ presented by Erika Winney MS RD CDN, Littauer’s Clinical Nutrition Manager on March 28 in Littauer’s Auditorium.
You are invited to join us for a buffet-style luncheon at 11:30 for $6 or attend the presentation only at 12 noon at no charge. To attend, call HealthLink Littauer at 518-736-1120 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.