As we age, we experience many changes, and we may need to adjust our lifestyles for healthy aging. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can be key to good health at any age. Choosing the right lifestyle can also prevent some health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Health recommendations include: Select high-fiber foods such as whole grain breads and cereals, unsalted beans, nuts and seeds, brightly colored vegetables (such as kidney beans), and fruits. Avoid fried foods. Instead, choose foods that are broiled, broiled, or boiled.
- Drink low-fat or skim milk fortified with vitamin D; dairy products or milk soy, almond, rice, or other beverages with added vitamin D and calcium to help keep bones strong as you age.
- Drink fluids throughout the day. You may feel less thirsty as you get older, but your body needs fluids to stay healthy and digest well. If you have a bladder control problem, talk to your doctor about fluids to drink, how much, and when to take them. Talk to your health care professional about whether it is recommended that you become active or increase your physical activity and how to do it safely. Choose physical activities that you enjoy and can do alone or with a friend or group. Stay connected with family, friends, and your community. Find out what you can do to stay healthy and fit for yourself and your loved ones!
Why is it important to maintain a healthy weight?
The body changes as we age. For example, if you’re not very active, your muscles may not work as well, which can affect your strength. Also, you may burn fewer calories, especially if you’re not physically active. Over time, if you eat and drink more calories than your body burns during physical activity and daily living, your body may store the extra calories that cause weight gain. Extra weight can cause overweight or obesity .
Being overweight and obese can increase your risk of:
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease and stroke
- high blood pressure
- high blood cholesterol
- renal disease
- fatty liver disease
- certain types of cancer
What is an appropriate weight for me?
Two measurements can help you determine if you are at a healthy weight. Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement based on your weight in relation to your height. You can use an online tool to calculate your BMI. Experts recommend that older adults have a BMI between 25 and 27, slightly higher than the recommended range of 18.5 to 24.9 for younger adults. On the other hand, some people, especially older adults, can have a BMI in the healthy range, but still carry excess body fat. That’s why it’s also important to measure your waist size. Waist size is a measurement that can tell you if you have excess body fat. Women with a waist of more than 35 inches and men with a waist of more than 40 inches may be more likely to develop health problems.
Being underweight can also be a health problem for older adults. It could mean that you are at increased risk of weakness and bone loss you are not consuming enough calories to maintain your weight you do not have access to enough food or to foods that meet your nutrient needs have an illness or medical condition Maintaining a healthy weight may help improve your health. The healthiest weight for you may be more than that of a younger person. Talk to your health care professional about what a healthy weight might be for you.
What types of food and drinks should I consume as I get older?
As we get older, the body begins to need fewer calories, but the same amount of nutrients. Therefore, you need to focus on eating nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods contain a large amount of the vitamins minerals, or other nutrients your body needs in fewer calories. Eat more nutrient-dense foods and drinks. Older adults should eat “rainbow” colored foods because they are rich in nutrients, such as:
- fruits and vegetables
- whole grains like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice
- low-fat or skim milk; dairy products; soy, almond, rice milk, or other beverages with added vitamin D and calcium
- shellfish, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
- unsalted beans, peas, nuts and seeds, if tolerated and not allergic
Eat less of these foods and drinks. Some foods and drinks are high in calories but low in the essential nutrients the body needs. Added sugars, solid fats, and salt, which are common in packaged foods, contain a lot of calories, but don’t provide a healthy amount of nutrients. Limit:
- sugar-sweetened foods and drinks
- foods made with solid fats: butter, lard, margarine, and shortening
- foods high in added fat (such as butter or lard) and salt (sodium)
How can I follow a healthy eating plan?
The amount of food and drink you should consume each day depends on your weight, gender, age, metabolism, and activity level. In general, men need more calories than women. Younger adults need more calories than middle-aged and older adults. All adults who exercise more need to consume more calories than those who are less active.
Control portion sizes. A serving is the amount of food or drink you consume in one serving. Being aware of food portions, portion sizes, and how often you eat them can help you make healthier food and drink choices. Many people eat more than they need, especially when eating out or buying takeout. Try these recommendations: Remember, restaurants often serve more than one serving. If the serving is larger than one serving, take home or save the rest to eat later. When you eat out or buy takeout, share a meal with a friend or save half your portion for another meal. Avoid watching TV, your smartphone, or other devices while you eat. You may not notice how much you are consuming if you are distracted. Consume your food and drinks more slowly and enjoy all the flavors and tastes.