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Although it’s true that healthy eating is important at any age, it’s especially important as we reach the middle of our lives and our senior years. As our metabolisms slow down and we become more susceptible to chronic illnesses, a healthy diet becomes crucial in maintaining a healthy body and mind. Follow these six tips to improve your diet safely and effectively:

1. Cut Down On Added Sugars

Plenty of people retain their sweet tooth into their golden years, but refined and added sugars offer zero nutritional value, and can lead to inflammation when consumed in excess. Try to eat foods that are naturally sweet and contain no added sugar, such as fruit, sweet potatoes, and sweet peppers. 

2. Eat A Variety Of Foods

The best way to get all of the nutrients you need is to incorporate a variety of foods in assorted colors. The more your plate looks like a rainbow, the better. Make sure that your meals include the following:

  • Lean protein (chicken, turkey, seafood, eggs, beans)
  • Multi-colored fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains 
  • Low-fat dairy

3. Season With Herbs And Spices, Not Salt

Although it’s easy and delicious to sprinkle a little table salt on every meal, excess sodium intake can lead to high blood pressure. Start incorporating herbs and spices like turmeric, cayenne pepper, and basil into your recipes instead of salt. They are not only sodium-free, but they’re packed with flavor. If you are going to consume salt, as a general rule of thumb, make sure you limit your salt intake to 2,300 milligrams per day.

4. Keep Portions In Line With The AHA

It’s important to eat portions that align with your age in order to maintain a healthy weight. The American Heart Association recommends that adults aged 60 and over follow these daily serving guidelines. Remember that your individual calorie needs may vary depending on your exact age, your activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose weight, gain weight, or simply maintain your current weight. 

5. Drink Fluids Throughout The Day

As we age, our sense of thirst becomes less sensitive, which makes it much easier to become dehydrated. So make sure that you drink small amounts of fluid during the day. Water, tea, fat-free milk, and 100-percent juice are all great options. Remember that drinking enough fluid can help you avoid urinary tract infections and constipation. Try to keep fluids with a high salt or sugar content to a minimum, unless otherwise advised by your physician.  

6. Choose Healthy Fats

As food science has evolved over the years, we now understand that there are good and bad fats. Minimize your intake of saturated and trans fats, which are found in high amounts in full fat dairy products and red meats such as beef, pork, and lamb. Instead, opt for foods that contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can protect you against illness and help support good mental health. Fish, nuts, avocado, and olive oil are all great sources of healthy fats.  

Gallagher Home Care is a Medicare-certified home health agency that serves across 8 Pennsylvania counties. Our dedicated employees are trained to provide exceptional, compassionate care to seniors in a variety of circumstances, including those living with dementia. We provide house-keeping, home safety monitoring, and companion care, and even provide free in-home evaluations for new families. Request an appointment online or call (412) 453-8082 to learn more.