10 healthy eating tips for seniors

Sunrise Senior Living  |  September 21, 2016
Ensure your overall health as you age with these eating tips.
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Help ensure your overall health as you age with these healthy eating tips.

First, the bad news: As you age, your metabolism slows down, your senses weaken and you're more likely to develop chronic conditions. The good news: You can help ensure your overall well-being over time, by making smart, healthy eating choices.

Here are 10 ways to improve your nutritional health as you age:

1. Consume more liquids
As you age, your sense of thirst becomes lessens. To combat this, MyPlate, a healthy eating initiative by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, suggests drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated even if you don't exactly feel thirsty. Fat-free milk and 100-percent juice are other options to consider besides water.

2. Eat a variety of foods
Consuming a variety of foods will ensure you're getting all of the nutrients you need. According to the National Council on Aging, a healthy meal should consist of a lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.

3. Plan your meals
If you plan your meals throughout the week, you'll be less likely to stop following your healthy eating habits. Consider preparing a week's worth of dinners, then keeping them frozen until you need them.

4. Minimize your use of table salt
As you age, your sense of taste declines. More often than not, you'll want to season your dishes with salt to increase the flavor. Unfortunately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, which can ultimately lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Make sure you're consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium every day.

5. Season with herbs and spices
Instead of seasoning your foods with salt, use fresh herbs and spices. Cayenne pepper, basil, sage, rosemary and turmeric are healthy choices that are packed with flavor.

6. Read nutrition labels
When shopping for packaged and canned foods, check the nutrition label before making the purchase. Even if it's advertised as a healthy choice, it could be loaded with added fat, sodium and sugar that you won't find unless you read the label carefully.

7. Follow recommended servings
In order to maintain a healthy weight, it's very important to follow the recommended serving sizes. Talk to your doctor if you want advice that caters to you personally.

8. Reduce sugar consumption
Refined sugars are loaded with empty calories that offer no nutritional value, according to Helpguide. Slowly reduce the sugary treats in your diet and start eating whole foods that are naturally sweet, such as fruits, sweet peppers and yams.

9. Choose healthy fats
You shouldn't cut all fats from your diet. Instead, just eliminate the saturated and trans fats. Healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can help protect your body against disease and support mood and mental well-being. Olive oil, avocado, nuts and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are excellent choices.

10. Consider supplements
Eating fruits and vegetables is the best way to get the nutrients you need, but sometimes, it's not enough. You may want to consider talking to your doctor about taking supplemental vitamins and minerals to ensure your overall health.

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