This is the second installment in a three-part series on aging. Read part one on mobility, and stay tuned for a post on socializing. Whether you are aging yourself, or caring for an aging loved-one, this series offers some great tips to help you.
The phrase, “You are what you eat,” seems to have greater meaning as we get older. The foods we eat in youth may not affect us immediately, but we start seeing the long-term effects of our regular diet in time. If we are not careful or wait too long to make necessary changes, aging gracefully may not be an option.
Staying healthy as we age involves not only increasing mobility and strength, but also what we take into our bodies. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand to get the best results. As mentioned in Part 1 of the aging series, aging can lead to limited mobility and other health issues. Many diseases are associated with aging, but they can be prevented or delayed with consistent healthy habits. Remember, the choices made in youth will influence how we age, but it is also never too late to take steps toward better health.
Have you ever set out to have a good habit that stuck? Once we master proper nutrition, it is so much easier to carry it into our older years. The Strong Women: Lifting Women to Better Health website suggests focusing on whole foods, especially those directly from the earth. It is important to have regular meals and portions, and keep healthy snacks on hand for when you get the afternoon munchies. Smaller portions eaten throughout the day sustain energy better than three large meals.
I don’t know about you, but I notice a big difference between eating one large meal and eating smaller portions throughout the day. The large meal always leaves me feeling sluggish and tired. I feel better throughout the day when I keep the healthy snacks with me, and it keeps me from overeating during meals.
Be aware of the calorie intake you need, because consuming more than your body needs can lead to weight gain, which leads to health concerns such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Are you aware of how your body reacts to the foods you eat? The NIH Senior Health website has some great information on how the food we eat affects our bodies. It addresses energy, weight and digestion. Below are some great recipes provided by Utah State University’s Food$ense Nutrition Program. More simple recipes can be found at care.com.
This article was written by Kirsten Lamplugh, Intern at the Salt Lake County USU Extension office, BS in Family and Consumer Sciences
NIH Senior Health website- https://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/benefitsofeatingwell/01.html