While good nutrition is important for people of all ages, it is especially important for seniors. The things we eat can have a big impact on our overall wellness, and a deficiency in vital nutrients can make us more susceptible to certain diseases and conditions. At American Senior Communities, we’ve designed a food program that takes these considerations into account and every day we serve meals in our dining rooms that are not only delicious but also packed with nutrients. Because March is National Nutrition Month, we think now is the perfect time to tell you about some common health problems associated with aging and give you some healthy eating tips that could help you prevent them.
As we get older, the density of our bones decreases. For some people, especially women with small frames, this condition can progress to the point where there’s a risk of debilitating fractures and other injuries. While it’s not possible to completely stop age-related bone loss, a little attention to your diet can help you maintain a healthy bone density. Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt are a great source of calcium to keep your bones strong but don’t forget that your body can’t utilize calcium without plenty of Vitamin D. Milk fortified with Vitamin D can help but if you’re still not getting enough Vitamin D in your diet, ask your doctor if a multivitamin or other supplement is right for you.
While some people develop diabetes in childhood (Type 1), the disease more commonly shows up later in life (Type 2). Modifiable risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes include being overweight and physical inactivity. Following a meal plan that promotes a loss of 7% of your body weight and increasing activity to 30 minutes, 5 days per week (as approved by your physician) can help to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. A Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can help design a meal plan that will meet your needs and lifestyle.
There are a number of conditions associated with narrow or obstructed blood vessels, and they can all be life-threatening if left unchecked. Your diet is one of the biggest factors that impact cardiovascular disease, so if you’re at risk, changing up the things you eat is a good idea. Foods like processed lunch meats, canned soups and potato chips may taste great but the salt in them makes it difficult for your body to remove excess water from the bloodstream, elevating blood pressure. Over time, this extra pressure can do significant damage to the heart and blood vessels, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke and other health problems.
This March, American Senior Communities would like to encourage you to think about your diet and how it affects your health. If you’re not eating healthy, nutritious foods, it’s never too late to start, and remember that good nutrition is something you can practice all year round!