Our regular collaborator, Edward Francis with Supplemented.co.uk alerts us that trying to stay healthy as we age can be a bit of a challenge, and it’s even more difficult to try and encourage someone else to be healthy. He says: “…But there are many benefits of having a healthy diet as a senior, so it’s definitely worth the effort. Here’s just a few of the main benefits of having a healthy diet as a senior:
Reduce Risk of Heart Issues
As we get older, our heart is already at a higher risk of suffering from issues – whether that’s heart attacks, heart disease or other similar problems. Making sure you have a healthy diet is one way to lower these risks and keep your heart in top shape. But what exactly is a heart healthy diet? Portion size is important here – eating too much of even the best things isn’t great for you. There’s no need to cut the size so much that you’re hungry, but learning not to overfill your plate is a great foundation for building a healthy diet on. Other key aspects of a heart healthy diet include eating more fruit and vegetables, swapping to whole grains, and limiting unhealthy fats. It’s important to note that it’s only unhealthy fats – there’s no need to cut out fat altogether!
Have More Energy
It’s common for older people to begin to feel lethargic and low on energy. Part of this is simply because of aging, but it’s often something worsened by underlying issues – such as depression, or a poor diet. Swapping to a healthier diet is a quick way to give yourself an energy boost. If this is the main benefit that interests you, there are some specific tips you should follow. Firstly, make sure you’re eating breakfast! This is a vital part of both eating healthily and keeping your energy rates high. If you’re really struggling to eat a full meal in the mornings, even snacking on a breakfast bar is better than not eating. Complex carbohydrates are a must – starchy foods such as potatoes are a great source of these. And finally – make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. Being dehydrated saps away energy, and making sure you’re drinking lots throughout the day is a great way to feel refreshed.
One risk for seniors is brittle bones – it’s why there’s an increased risk of hip fractures from falls, for instance. Whilst this isn’t entirely avoidable, it is possible to lessen the impact by ensuring you’re eating correctly. Calcium and vitamin D are the most important things to consider here. Vitamin D is often hard to get enough of through diet alone, so we recommend taking a supplement in order to ensure you reap the benefits. As for calcium, milk and yogurt are key sources, but you should also consider increasing the amount of green leafy vegetables and nuts that you eat, as these are great secondary sources. It’s also important to remain active – in this case, diet can only go so far, so making sure you get a regular amount of exercise (even if it’s only a small amount) is vital.
Keep Your Mind Sharp
There’s a lot of discussion on the best way to keep your mind sharp as you age – from doing sudoku to taking long walks. One thing everyone agrees on though is that your diet plays a massive part of it. Starting to eat more healthily can has major benefits for your mind, and if you’re concerned about issues like dementia or Alzheimer’s, then it’s a quick and easy change with a big impact. If this is the thing you’re most concerned about, then a big thing to add into your diet is omega-3s. Foods like salmon are the obvious choice, but did you know you can also get the same effects from flax seeds? Green tea is another worthwhile addition, as it’s great for countering free radicals – the things most likely to be responsible for age-related mind issues.
These are just a few of the potential benefits gained from having a healthy diet – there are many more, and it’s something worth discussing with a medical professional if you have any queries about. Just be aware that the portions deemed healthy for a senior are likely to differ from what’s considered healthy for a younger adult, so make sure to do the research and not overload with food by mistake. Everything calls, of course for balance. That what you like and that what you must have versus what improves your quality of life. A difficult balance to keep and yet, a token for quality of life.