Maintaining a healthy diet throughout life can do more than just keep you slim and fit. Healthy eating is important to senior health care and can sometimes prevent diseases such as heart disease and cancer, as well as provide relief for diseases such as osteoporosis. Unfortunately, the importance of eating well is often pushed aside by our busy day to day lives. We continue to jeopardize our future health and get caught up in the cycle of fast food, large portions and sodium laden meals. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be daunting on our schedules, or mean giving up all the food we love. A simple eating plan can actually make meals and snacks more efficient for both our time and our bodies.
While a healthy diet is important for an individual of any age, it is especially important for seniors and senior health care. Creating a healthy lifestyle while we are younger, and maintaining it as we grow older, can prevent many senior health care issues, and keep disease at bay. While many seniors rely on specialized senior services for their senior health care needs, it’s important to do all we can beforehand to maintain our health and practice preventative care. Below is a list of diseases and the foods that help to prevent or manage disease:
Our bones continue to grow until we reach our maximum bone density somewhere in our late twenties or early thirties. Slowly as we age our bones become less dense which can eventually lead to Osteoporosis. Building up our bone density while we are young is a sure prevention method, but there are a variety of foods that can help prevent or provide relief from the disease as well. These are:
o Foods rich in Vitamin D such as dairy products, oily fish, and liver are vital for bone production. Exposure to sunlight also produces Vitamin D. Calcium, in low fat milk and other dairy products, is equally important for healthy bones.
o Aside from nutrition, exercising regularly with low- or high-impact cardiovascular activities can force bones to strengthen. Many senior citizen communities and activity centers offer physical activity and exercise programs ideal for seniors.
Coronary heart disease is a senior health care issue that can also be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. Heredity, and poor diet are risk factors for heart disease, and a variety of basic nutrition solutions can prevent or help individuals manage the disease. These include:
o Removing saturated fats from your diet. Replace them with unsaturated fats such as skimmed milk, low fat cheese, and lean meat.
o Eat fruits and vegetables, and limit your total fat intake.
o Eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as mackerel or salmon, and grill any meat to remove the fat.
o Adding soy to your diet will reduce cholesterol, and also lower the risk of heart disease.
o Stay away from Trans fats found in fried foods and some baked goods.
Research has shown that eating a healthy diet and practicing healthy lifestyle habits can prevent the onset of cancer. Risk factors for cancer include smoking, overweight, and excessive drinking. Though quitting smoking and drinking in moderation will help in the prevention of certain cancers, eating vitamin rich foods and avoiding others to maintain a healthy weight can also play a major role in senior health.
o Fruits and vegetables are vital to Cancer prevention and weight control. Eat a large variety every day.
o Avoid large amounts of red meat and processed meats.
o Wholegrain breads and other sources of fiber such as almonds are essential for weight control.
o Eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as beans and legumes that are full of fiber, protein, complex carbohydrates and important minerals.
Eating well and maintaining physical activities don’t guarantee the prevention of disease, but contributes toward your physical and mental well-being. A variety of senior citizen services are available, such as senior nutritionists that can offer advice on healthy eating and exercise to improve or maintain senior health. Other healthy foods to build into your healthy lifestyle include:
o Whole Grains
o Beans and other legumes
o Olive oil
o Dark Chocolate