As you age, you go through many physical changes, many of which affect your metabolism and ability to maintain a healthy weight. You may also need more nutrients to prevent osteoporosis, heart disease and other chronic health conditions. At Autumn View Gardens in Ellisville, Missouri, we offer restaurant-style dining and flexible mealtimes, making it easier to get the nutrients you need. Let us know if you need help implementing these tips and improving your overall nutrition.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, every adult should consume at least 2 cups of fruit each day. Fruits contain vitamins, minerals and other compounds that may lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems and prevent some types of cancer. If you have a sweet tooth, the natural sugar in fruit may also prevent you from turning to cookies, candy and other high-calorie foods when you're craving something sweet.
If you follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should be eating 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily. Like fruits, vegetables contain many beneficial compounds, including phytonutrients. These compounds protect plants from insects and sun damage, but they also reduce the risk of certain diseases in humans. To get as many phytonutrients as possible, aim to eat vegetables in every color:
Refined grains are processed into meal or flour, removing some of their key nutrients. In contrast, whole grains contain all three parts of the grain, making them more nutritious. Grains are also a good source of fiber, iron, niacin, folate, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin and selenium. To increase your intake of whole grains, make some simple swaps. Choose multigrain bread instead of white bread, brown rice instead of white rice or steel-cut oatmeal instead of cereal made with refined grains.
When it comes to eating a balanced diet, fat isn't the enemy it's made out to be. You need some fat to keep yourself warm, protect your organs from harm, produce hormones and absorb fat-soluble nutrients. That said, it's important to choose the right fats.
Unsaturated fats, such as the ones found in avocados, walnuts, fish and almonds, reduce inflammation, help your heart maintain a normal rhythm and contribute to lower cholesterol levels. Increase your intake of unsaturated fats by spreading some guacamole on whole-grain bread, eating 1 ounce of walnuts or almonds for an afternoon snack or using olive oil and canola oil for cooking.
Saturated fats turn into solids at room temperature, so they're easy to distinguish from unsaturated fats. To age well, limit your intake of these fats, as they often lead to weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease. Fried foods, whole-fat dairy products, baked goods and processed meats are usually high in saturated fats.
When possible, eat whole foods rather than heavily processed foods, which have been altered during the production process. For example, food companies typically add salt to canned vegetables or remove the skins from canned fruits, changing the nutritional content. Manufacturers may also add herbs, spices, artificial colors or artificial flavors. Instead of reaching for canned goods or frozen foods, eat fresh whole foods.
Only 5% of Americans get enough fiber each day, leaving them at risk for digestive problems and an increased risk of heart disease. As you adjust your diet, make sure you're getting plenty of soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber slows down digestion by mixing with the water in your digestive tract. It's found in vegetables, grains, legumes and seeds. Health benefits of soluble fiber include reduced cholesterol, a lower risk of heart disease and more stable blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, preventing constipation and reducing the risk of hemorrhoids. Found in beans, whole grains and root vegetables, insoluble fiber also interacts with the bacteria in your digestive system, which helps to maintain a healthy gut microbiome.
Changing your diet is a great way to improve your overall health, but you also need to exercise regularly. Our assisted living community has on-site exercise programs to help you increase your activity without putting yourself at risk of injury. Bluebird Park and other outdoor areas in Ellisville are great places to move your body, get some fresh air and enjoy spending time in the sunshine.
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