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Eating Healthy for Seniors

By Paul Rothbart

From the moment we're born, we are aging. It never stops. I have reached that point where I can no longer call myself middle age. I prefer to think of it as "being on the threshold of senior citizenship." While the AARP has some nice perks, the older adult body has some specific nutritional needs. A diet with the right nutrients will keep the body going, keep the wheels of the brain turning, and limit those doctor visits. Let's see what that diet should include.

Lean Protein

Protein builds muscle and thus is very important for the aging adult to combat the loss of muscle mass. Keeping toned muscles helps burn fat and a strong body can aid in preventing injury. Protein sources should be lean as excess fat can add bodyweight and raise cholesterol which can have dire consequences for seniors. Fish, poultry, and lean meats are excellent sources of proteins. Eggs, nuts and beans also contain protein.

Fruits and Vegetables

Important for a healthy diet at any age, these are especially essential for seniors. With plant foods, colors are the key. Eat green, red, orange, and yellow vegetables to reap the benefits of a number of different nutrients. They will provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. These nutrients keep the brain and memory functioning, the bones strong, and help fight off cancer, diabetes and other diseases that tend to afflict the older crowd. 

Whole Grains

Whole grains, as opposed to the refined type, are very healthy and necessary for seniors. Whole wheat bread and brown rice are better than the white variety. Oatmeal is an excellent food for heart health. Whole grains contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, that help maintain a healthy weight and lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. They also aid digestion and lower inflammation, both areas of concern for aging adults. 

Go Easy on the Snacks

Empty calories are very detrimental to senior health. Avoid candy, chips, soda, and baked goods. They just pack on weight while providing essentially no nutritional value at all. Popcorn (not too much salt and butter) is a much healthier snack. Fresh fruit is sweet, tasty, and will satisfy cravings. I like to have carrots sticks with hummus, when I need a snack to get me to dinner.

Eating healthy is important for everyone. As we age, good nutrition becomes even more important. For the senior citizen, the key to longevity and health is a good diet along with exercise. Eat well and enjoy the grandchildren.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Melbourne, Fla. 

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