Healthy Food Choices for Successful Aging

 

Older adults experience many changes in their lives.  While aging is inevitable, it is highly variable in individuals.  Eating well and living well can make successful aging a reality.  Healthy food choices include:

 

·        nutrient-dense foods to meet vitamin and mineral needs within reduced energy requirements

·        milk products, excellent sources of calcium and vitamin D, to maintain bone health

·        increased fluid and fibre intakes to minimize dehydration and digestive disturbances

·        colourful and tasty foods to stimulate appetites

·        texture-modified foods to facilitate chewing and swallowing for those with oral health problems

·        limited intake of salt, caffeine, and alcohol

 

Good nutrition is necessary for proper growth and development.  Healthy eating also plays an important role in lowering the risk of developing nutrition-related diseases such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

 

Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating was developed to meet the nutritional needs of all Canadians aged four years and older.  The guidelines advise Canadians to:

 

·        Enjoy a variety of foods.

·        Emphasize cereals, breads, other grain products, vegetables, and fruit.

·        Choose lower-fat dairy products, leaner meats and foods prepared with little or no fat.

·        Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight by enjoying regular physical activity and healthy eating.

·        Limit salt, alcohol, and caffeine.

 

Any one food, meal, or day’s meals don’t determine healthy eating.  It is the overall pattern of foods eaten over a period of time.  So there aren’t any “good” or “bad” foods or meals.  The nutritional characteristics of any one food or meal can be balanced by choices made at other meals to create an overall pattern of healthy eating.

 

 

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