Eating Well, Aging Well
Eating for Health and Wellness at Any Age
We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” No matter your age, a nutritious diet is essential to maintaining energy and a healthy weight. It can even help prevent chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Early research has also shown a healthy diet may decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Taking the Mediterranean diet to heart – and mind
Most experts agree the Mediterranean diet is best for heart health. Centered on whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, and seeds, the diet uses olive oil as the main source of fat, and it includes fish, seafood, dairy, and poultry in moderation.
Both the Mediterranean and related MIND diet feature foods that may improve brain health as well:
- Veggies, especially cruciferous and green, leafy ones such as spinach, broccoli, and brussels sprouts
- Cherries and dark berries
- Fatty fish loaded with brain-powering DHA, including salmon, fatty tuna, and sardines
- Walnuts and almonds
The Mediterranean diet can also reduce diabetes risk, which is worth noting, considering that 48% of Americans aged 65 and older have prediabetes.
A healthy balance includes aging life care
For adults living with diabetes, the Mediterranean diet can manage blood sugar and diabetes complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
In general, a healthy diabetes diet includes lots of fruits and veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein, while limiting salt, sugar and processed foods. Eating regular, balanced meals with a combination of carbs plus protein, fat or fiber also slows down rising blood sugar, according to the CDC.
Adults with diabetes should always determine a nutrition plan with their doctor or registered dietician. An Aging Life Care Professional® can help with diabetes management by connecting aging adults with dieticians, coordinating medical care, and helping with meal plans and meal delivery services.
A healthy lifestyle is more than a diet
Choosing the right foods is only one aspect of healthy eating. In addition to a balanced diet, the USDA recommends following these tips for older adults:
- Prepare or enjoy meals as a social event with friends or family
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Add spice for flavor, but limit salt
- Know your nutrient needs by talking to your doctor
- Follow food safety guidelines
As you age, it can become challenging to shop for, plan, and prepare meals. It’s important for aging adults and their caregivers to take an active role in creating and implementing a nutrition plan that meets specific health and care needs.
A geriatric care manager can also provide resources, education, and planning services to meet nutritional goals. Please call Elder Advisory Group for a free phone consultation at 713-624-4288.
The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your health care provider.