Eating Well in Later Life

Welcome to the latest edition of Senior Snippets: the monthly advisory column with the older members of our community in mind, brought to you by Sheena Van Parys, Director of Home Instead in Harrogate, Ripon and Thirsk.

As we age, our digestive and immune systems become less efficient. It is important to eat well and nutritiously to get the most out of the food we eat.

Healthy eating includes consuming high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals in the foods you take in while minimizing processed foods, saturated fats and alcohol. Eating in this manner helps you maintain your body’s everyday functions, promotes optimal body weight and can assist in disease prevention.

If you are not used to eating a healthy diet, making gradual changes can help you improve the way you eat in the long run. You can replace high-calorie, sugary drinks for water, for example, and switch from full-fat to low-fat dairy products. Select lean meats instead of fatty cuts and whole-wheat grains instead of refined grains. Snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables like carrots, apples and cucumber slices is healthier than snacking on crisps or chips.

Here are the main reasons why healthy eating is important for each and every one of us.

Improves Mood:  Doing right by your body pays off for your mind as well. Eating a healthy diet as well as exercising help boost your confidence and self-esteem.

Combats Diseases: Healthy habits can help prevent certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure, by boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreasing unhealthy triglycerides. This combination keeps your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Boosts Energy: We've all experienced the energy drop that comes from eating foods high in sugar and saturated fats. When you eat a balanced diet including whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables, your body has the fuel that it needs to manage your energy levels.

Improves Longevity: When you practice healthy habits, you boost your chances of a longer life.

Controls Weight: Eating right and exercising regularly can help you avoid excess weight gain and maintain a healthy weight.