From the Precision Nutrition Podcast – Strategies for Seniors Nutrition
Our lifestyle choices, especially nutrition, have a significant impact on how we age. The good news is, it’s never too late to make changes that will improve our health. Making small changes over time will help us repair our minds and bodies. When we understand the types of food needed to improve our overall health we can begin to reverse some of the damage that may have been done in our youth.
In this Precision Nutrition podcast, Registered Dietician Jennifer Broxterman unveils 7 lifestyle strategies that may improve health and help seniors stay independent longer. Broxterman shares a personal story of how her grandfather ended up in an assisted living facility as he was no longer able to care for himself. His diet was very poor – he ate mostly processed carbohydrates and quick meals that lacked many essential nutrients. She asked him to get a blood test to find out if he had any nutritional deficiencies. The blood test revealed many deficiencies but the one that was most alarming was her grandfather’s lack of Thiamine. Thiamine helps with memory and overall brain function. Broxterman reintroduced foods into his diet that were rich in Thiamine as well as other key nutrients. These foods included: nuts, seeds, meat and vegetables. In less than a year, her grandfather was released from the assisted living facility and was living on his own again.
It is possible, at any age, to make changes that will repair and reinvigorate our minds and bodies. The strategies below are small steps that anyone can take to improve their overall health.
Move your body for at least 30 minutes per day. Exercise cues the body to absorb nutrients, reduces risk of many chronic diseases, elevates mood, and improves your overall mental health.
Eat healthy meals. We’ve all heard the saying, “You are what you eat”. A healthy plate is colorful and provides quality sources of proteins, complex carbohydrates, and fats.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. As we age, excess weight can affect our organ function. For example, excess weight puts a major strain on our hearts. Our hearts pump blood through the entire body. The more fat we have, the harder the heart has to work in order to circulate blood throughout the body.
Get the right amount of sleep. Older populations should aim for 5-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep is our body’s prime time to recover.
Reduce or quit smoking. There was a time when smoking was considered a healthy habit. Now we know the dangerous effects smoking has on our body. It’s never too late to quit and the body regenerates quickly.
Moderate or eliminate alcohol. As we age, we may find that increased leisure time impacts the amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. People may use alcohol to combat boredom or as a coping mechanism. Overuse of alcohol negatively impacts our immune system, liver and kidneys, heart, and brain.
Connect with others. Human interaction gives us purpose and a reason to live. Isolation can lead to physical and psychological problems.
Click here to read the Precision Nutrition article.
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