You might be familiar with the saying, “you are what you eat,” and despite what you may think, that saying is actually not a myth. In fact, adults over the age of fifty can reap more benefits from a healthy diet than just a fit physique.
Many people think that healthy eating means doing away with all of your favorite foods, but this is simply untrue. You can still eat the foods that you love, but by incorporating just a few simple changes, you might see a big boost in overall health!
What Does Your Body Need?
It’s a sad reality that as we age our senses become weaker and our metabolism slows. A balanced diet and some physical activity, however, can lead to greater quality of life, lower levels of stress and better sleep.
Here are the essential foods that will help you live longer, sharpen your mind, and make your bones stronger and just plain feel better:
- Grains: Examples of grains include bread, pasta, rice and oatmeal. If you are a bread and pasta lover, you don’t have to cut these foods out of your life, simply consider switching to whole grain instead of white. Remember, your body only needs about 7 ounces of grain a day. Moderation is always key!
- Veggies: Adding color to your meals is a surefire way to guarantee that you are getting a well-balanced meal. Search for some veggies that are dark green, such as kale, spinach and broccoli, as they contain more antioxidants. Orange veggies, such as carrots, squash, and yams, are packed with beta-carotene and Vitamins A and B.
- Fruit: For people with a sweet tooth, fruit can be an excellent substitute for candy. We recommend pineapple, strawberries, and apples, but you can toss your favorite fruits into a big Tupperware each week to munch on fruit salad when those sugar cravings hit you.
- Protein: Chicken is a great source of protein, but fish, beans, eggs, seeds, nuts or cheese are also great lean alternatives to chicken. To ensure you get the right amount of protein, simply divide your body weight in half to figure out how many grams of protein your body needs. Generally, experts say that your protein serving should be about the size of your hand.
- Calcium: Seniors are at a higher risk of falls than the younger population and the threat of osteoporosis can make those falls deadly. In order to reduce injury, maximize your bone health by getting between 1000 and 12000 grams of calcium a day. Almonds, yogurt and tofu are great examples of versatile foods with calcium.
Food and Your Mental Health
There’s no reason that sticking to a healthy diet should take a toll on your social life. Jeanne Segal, Ph.D, and Gina Kemp, M.A., of HelpGuide.com recommend making eating out with friends a priority.
“A social atmosphere stimulates your mind and helps you enjoy meals. When you enjoy mealtimes you’re more likely to eat better.” Who doesn’t like grabbing a bite to eat with their friends? Be sure to make time to indulge in a night out but try to remember to stick to healthier choices. It will help you to keep your metabolism steady and your life more balanced.