Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there were a no-fail food formula, a sort of dietary magic bullet that would keep us healthy and vibrant from birth to old age? While there’s no universal plan that fits everyone’s needs, nutritional guidelines can go a long way toward helping your system function at its peak well into your later years.
1. Make fruit and veggies the centerpiece of your diet. Unfortunately, many people eat fewer fresh fruits and vegetables as they get older. Yet they’re the best sources of vitamins A, C and E-antioxidants that help fight cancer. Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables also keep your digestive system running smoothly. If you prefer frozen or canned vegetables, opt for the plain varieties. And steer clear of fruits canned in syrup.
2. Keep your body hydrated. Often called the overlooked nutrient, water is essential for cell function. Drinking lots of water can help assuage hunger pangs and can also help prevent kidney stones in those susceptible to them. Drinking more water can also ease constipation. Fruits and vegetables contain lots of water, so eat your water often.
3. Bone up on the benefits of calcium. It’s normal for our bones to lose minerals as we age, but those who lose too many too quickly can develop osteoporosis or brittle-bone disease. Eating calcium-rich foods like low-fat or nonfat dairy products is a good way to keep bones strong. Other sources of calcium include canned salmon with bones and green, leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale and mustard greens.
4. If you’ve got a special-needs diet, follow it! Certain conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol call for special diets. While the dietary changes your doctor may have recommended might seem difficult, remember the potential reward: a longer, more vital life. Don’t forget to ask your doctor about how your medications may affect your nutrition.
Fort HealthCare’s Nutrition Services treats healthy individuals as well as those being seen for acute or chronic illness or conditions. Their program is for anyone who has concerns and questions about their diet, foods, growth and development, special diets and healthy eating.
For personal nutrition counseling or if your organization would like a speaker for diabetes or nutrition education, call the Nutrition Services Department at (920) 568-5453 or visit FortHealthCare.com/Nutrition.