Time and time again science and research have shown that food affects our health. Brightly colored fruits and vegetables can contribute to a rosy complexion and a healthier vascular system. Processed foods, white bread and empty carbs can contribute to a pasty, unhealthy pallor. It’s our choice.
This is the time of year when people make resolutions to eat healthier, exercise more and give up all of their bad habits. With so much being taken away all at once, people often fail. This year, try to simply make healthier choices each day. If you aren’t ready to take my word for it, Read this post from WebMd:
“The science is clear: Eating the right foods can lead to a longer, healthier life.
But some people find it harder to eat right as they get older for many reasons. Maybe they don’t have much of an appetite. Maybe they have trouble cooking or eating. Maybe they don’t know what’s healthy. Or maybe they do and just don’t like the idea of kale.
“You know what? You can live a long, healthy life and never eat a piece of kale,” says Cheryl Rock, PhD, a professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
She’s all for finding healthy food that you like and building on that.
“If you’re eating foods you like, then you’re more likely to stick with it. You won’t force it down for 4 days and then go out for a double cheeseburger,” Rock says.
But it’s more than just finding the right foods. Michele Bellantoni, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, points out that you need to eat them in the right amounts, too.
“It looks like the optimal calories [for most older adults] will be 1,800 [a day],” she says. “And for successful aging, we think about the entire body, rather than just specific organs.”
Many foods are especially good for certain parts of your body. Bellantoni suggests splitting those 1,800 calories up into proteins for your muscles, calcium for your bones, and a basic heart-healthy diet.
That approach can do a lot of things for you.
It Can Help Your Heart
A basic heart-healthy diet can help you control your weight. That’s important because more than a third of people 65 and older are obese. That can lead to diabetes, some cancers, and heart disease.
A heart-healthy diet is one that includes:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Low-fat dairy products like yogurt and cheese
- Skinless poultry
- Lots of fish
- Nuts and beans
- Non-tropical vegetable oils (olive, corn, peanut, and safflower oils)
Salmon and other fish, like trout and herring, are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower your chances of heart disease and may help with high blood pressure, among other things. Aim for two servings a week.
The fiber in veggies and whole grains also can help make you less likely to have cardiovascular disease. And it aids with digestion and may help keep you regular, which can be a problem for some older adults.
No single food is going to help your heart. You need a complete, healthy diet.
“If you’re eating a lot of fish but, in addition to that, you’re living on ice cream and candy and stuff like that,” Rock says, “it’s not going to save you.”
It Can Help Your Brain
A loss of memory, a big concern among some older adults, has been linked to a lack of vitamin B12, among other things. You can get that in:
- Milk products
- Some breakfast cereals
Alzheimer’s disease has been linked to chronic inflammation, which can be caused by foods like white bread, french fries, red meat, sugary beverages, and margarine.”