Your Diet and Healthy Aging

Everyone eats and everyone ages. What you choose to eat can affect how you age.

We all prefer to age healthfully.

Below is a list of things you should consider when choosing what is on the menu.

  1. Mediterranean Diet-this diet is gaining popularity for its heart healthy effects. The diet includes increasing fruits and nuts in your menu, decreasing meats and saturated fats, using monounsaturated fats such as olive oil, eating fish more often, eating more plant based items such as legumes, decreasing dairy foods, increasing whole grain/fiber and moderating your alcohol consumption.
  2. Antioxidants on the Menu– increasing the foods that you choose that are high in antioxidants is preferable to taking a supplement. Our bodies produce antioxidants but this ability decreases with age. Foods that are colorful and contain Vitamins A, E, and C such as berries of all varieties; beans such as red, black, kidney and pinto; fruits such as apples, avocados, cherries, pears, plums, kiwi and pineapple; vegetables such as artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, red cabbage and broccoli; green tea; pomegranate juice; nuts; dark chocolate and oat containing grains.
  3. Fiber-most of us choose too little fiber thinking that our breakfast cereal will do the trick. 20-25 grams/day is recommended and most cereal provides about 5 grams. Include whole grains, wheat bread, wheat crackers, fresh fruit and vegetables, brown rice, wheat pasta, salads, wheat rolls or buns, granola, nuts and beans.
  4. Water-don’t ignore it or think you are not thirsty, make water your primary drink. You don’t have to overdo it but get a minimum of 6 glasses a day.
  5. Omega 3 fatty acids-thought to stimulate our immune systems, reduce inflammation and keep our heart’s healthy. Our bodies need them but we don’t make them so we have to add to the diet. We can choose to eat fish such as mackerel, salmon, albacore tuna, herring and sardines or take supplements to get an amount that is beneficial.

In addition to diet, remember to stay physically active and keep your brain stimulated to improve your health as you age.