What you eat, especially as you age, has a huge impact on your happiness and quality of life. The simple act of eating healthy, helps you avoid everything from heart disease and cancer to depression and anxiety.
Smart eating also helps you fight back against what many people just accept about aging –– losing muscle mass and strength. When we lose our physical strength, it impairs our mood and keeps us from the very things that give us joy!
A Way To Get Back In The Game
As we age, we generally need fewer calories. But did you know our nutritional demands remain high –– if not even higher than when we were younger? We especially need to boost our diets with more protein, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin B12:
- A three-year study involving more than 2,000 seniors found that those who ate the most protein, lost 40 percent less muscle mass than people who ate the least. 40 percent!
- Another study concluded adding extra resistance and exercise was the ultimate way to regain some muscle mass and strength.
Back To Your Dinner Plate
What’s on your dinner plate? What are the portion sizes?
In this blog, we’re sharing 5 easy tips to eat well as you age while powering up your diet, from our master dietician for Marquis Companies. For 30 years, Corporate Dietician, Kim Bargay, RD, LD, has been keeping our residents healthy. And before you think she’s going to tell you to eat carrot sticks and cucumbers each meal, Kim does not take the fun out eating.
“Not at all,” laughs Kim. “I love good food and some of my occasional favorite meals involved ribeye steak and baked potato, or a breakfast with French toast and strawberry compote. But I also consistently include foods rich in color and flavor, like a salad with chicken, brie cheese, walnuts, and dried cranberries.”
So, let’s get started! No fad diets, no hard-to-follow regiment. Just smart, easy choices!
(An important note from Kim: Please consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.)
5 Tips To Eat Well As You Age
#1 Healthy Hydration. Across the globe, we’re experiencing record-breaking temperatures, which makes drinking enough water even more important. As we age, we start to lose the ability to notice when we’re getting dehydrated, so fill up your favorite water bottle every day and drink 8-12 cups of H2O. It will keep your body working and your skin glowing.
#2 Half a Plate of Color. Kim says half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Yes, half. It’s an easy measure of getting enough antioxidants that neutralize dangerous free radicals in your body. Put simply, the best way to slow down aging and disease is to eat your fruits and veggies. And make sure they’re colorful and varied to ensure you’re getting the right vitamins and minerals. Power-packed examples include:
- Dark green vegetables at least three to four times a week. Good options include broccoli, peppers, brussel sprouts, and leafy greens like kale and spinach.
- Berries pack a powerful punch. Include two to four servings of fruit in your diet each day. Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries are great choices.
#3 Protein Power. We need more protein as we age. Make sure to get a variety, from eggs to meat to vegetarian protein options.
- Certain seafoods are higher in healthy fatty acids, called omega-3s. Choose salmon, trout, herring, bluefish, sardines, and canned light tuna. Try to eat two to three servings of fish a week. A serving consists of 3 to 4 ounces of cooked fish.
- Beans and Lentils. Eat a bean-based meal at least once a week. Add beans and lentils to soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and dips, or eat them plain.
- Flaxseed, nuts, and seeds. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or other seeds to food each day or include a quarter cup of nuts in your daily diet.
#4 Dairy Rich. Dairy foods help you get that much needed calcium and vitamin D. If you use a milk substitute, look to make sure it’s fortified with calcium and vitamin D. Adults between 19 and 50 years of age need 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and adults over 50 need 1,200 milligrams daily. Include organic choices.
#5 Fiber Fortified. Eat whole grains at least two to three times daily. Look for whole wheat flour, rye, oatmeal, barley, amaranth, quinoa or a multigrain. A good source should have 3 to 4 grams of fiber per serving. The best sources have 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.
Studying what’s on your dinner plate is more important than ever. And the choices are easy.
As Kim puts it, “It’s really easy and fun if you plan, experiment and enjoy!”
Next step, check with your physician about making any changes to your diet to make sure what you add doesn’t interfere with medications or any physical conditions.