As we get older, it’s important that we adjust our diets to keep our minds and bodies healthy and able. When you were younger you may not have given much thought to the foods and drinks that you consumed, especially because younger people are able to tolerate not-so-healthy diets more easily than older adults. However, the fact remains, the foods and drinks we consume have a huge impact on our overall well-being. If you’re curious about the ideal diet for seniors, we have the top diet do’s and don’ts to help you stay mindful about food choices.
Do: Stay Hydrated
If you’re not in the habit of drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day, it’s time to start. Pay attention to how much water you drink on a daily basis, and if it’s fewer than eight glasses, you need to increase your water intake.
Did you know that thirst can sometimes disguise itself as hunger? Dehydration can also have some very serious side effects, like irregular bowel movements, headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, brain fog, feeling dizzy, and dry skin. If you struggle to remember to drink enough water every day, invest in a large water bottle and keep it by your side all day – it’ll serve as a constant reminder to stay hydrated.
Don’t: Eat Raw Meat Or Sushi
With all raw meat, including fish, there is a risk of bacteria being present. This bacteria is killed off when the meat is cooked at high temperatures, but consuming it raw in foods like sushi, steak tartare, sashimi, or carpaccio, means you’re at risk for ingesting potentially harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli, and Yersinia.
Seniors are more vulnerable to bacterial infections and can develop secondary health conditions if exposed to bacteria regularly. Our bodies often have a harder time fighting off illnesses and infections as we age, so opt for the safe choice and only eat cooked meats, especially lean proteins like chicken.
Do: Eat Many Greens
A balanced diet consists of two to three servings of green vegetables every day, which means many of us are not eating nearly enough greens. Adding greens to your diet is wonderful for your health because they are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber, without having a high calorie count.
If you’re not a big vegetable eater then start small: add one serving of green vegetables to one meal a day. You might also consider adding a small side salad to your lunch or your dinner as a quick and easy way to get your greens in. If you’re residing in an independent lifestyle community, ask your chefs about adding more health-conscious choices to your meal plans – we’re sure they would be more than happy to accommodate!
Don’t: Eat Refined Sugar
A high sugar intake puts you at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, especially if you’re indulging in refined sugars found in processed, packaged foods like baked goods, chocolate bars, cakes and pastries. Certain spreads like jams and nut butters also tend to have a lot of refined sugars, which are linked to serious health conditions like heart disease, obesity, and liver disease.
If you’re not in the habit of checking nutrition labels when you buy your groceries, it’s time to start. Even certain breads contain a lot of refined sugar, so we recommend staying vigilant about how much sugar you’re consuming on a daily basis. Your diet should consist mainly of lean proteins, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy carbs like sweet potato and quinoa.
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/umc-corp/blog/diets-for-seniors/