As people age, their nutritional needs change. Some may not be able to consume the same foods, or foods in the same quantities, as they could when they were younger and perhaps healthier. Too much sodium, sugar or fats can wreak havoc on the human body when people age.
Fiber for Heart Health
A diet high in fiber, including fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, can help reduce cholesterol and keep the digestive system regular. The only caution with fruits and vegetables is that if the stomach is sensitive to certain fruit acids, such as those found in tomatoes or citrus fruits, this may cause some discomfort, but overall vegetables and fruits should be consumed as much and as often as possible. Fruits and vegetables contain high plant fiber which helps cleanse the bowels and helps maintain a healthy blood glucose level, keeping early onset diabetes at bay.
When most people think of protein, they may immediately think of a thick, juicy steak. For those so inclined, they may still enjoy steak as they age, but they may also want to consider lighter, white meat alternatives, such as pork, chicken and turkey, which are lean protein that promotes muscle strength and keeps muscle fibers from deteriorating. Grilled preparation is tasty and fast, and is a healthy alternative to fried meats. For those who would like to try a meat-free alternative, soy protein and nuts are another great way to add healthy protein and fiber into the diet.
Younger people need the calcium in dairy to support growing bones and muscle health. Because dairy products are high in fat, aging bodies may not metabolize this fat as easily as it did when someone was younger. Those at high risk for heart disease, or people who suffer from high blood pressure, may want to avoid dairy-rich foods to keep their arteries clearer and to promote healthy blood flow. Too much fat in the diet may also make it difficult for the liver to function properly, so it may be best to avoid dairy as much as possible.
Lower Sodium Intake
People who suffer from high blood pressure should lower their sodium intake, whether this means avoid salt or avoiding processed foods. Many convenience and processed foods contain high amounts of salt and sugar, so read labels carefully and keep a healthy weight and blood pressure in mind.
As always, hydration is important, no matter what your age. Drink more water throughout the day to help flush toxins from the body and to help the body cool down on a hot day. Water is healthy for skin, kidneys, and the body overall, so water is always a good option as a beverage.
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