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Healthy Eating Tips For Senior Citizens

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Activate The Power Of Healthy Nutrition To Reduce Inflammation!

Interested in taking control of how you eat and feel? Ready to use food as medicine to improve how you feel and help you stay healthy and active so you can do more of what you love in your retirement years? 

Healthy eating done correctly pulls in nutrients and reduces inflammation which is connected to most of the major diseases of our time (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, auto-immune conditions, dementia, and Cancer). But did you know that it is also connected to many of the other conditions that could be negatively impacting your quality of life? Things like: digestive issues, headaches/migraines, joint pain, energy, moods, and cognitive functioning. For more information about inflammation and diet, check out will an anti inflammatory diet work for you.

Research shows that your fork and knife are the two most powerful tools you have to reduce inflammation and take control of how you feel! 

Scientists are still figuring out how specific foods affect your body’s inflammatory processes, but they do understand quite a lot in terms of your nutrition. 

One of the key research studies conducted by A. M. Minihane et al for The British Journal of Nutrition shows that if you eat a lot of foods with processed sugars, you’ll have a higher risk of suffering from chronic inflammation. This is because they trigger the release of specific chemical mediators that lead to inflammation in your body’s cells. The connection between sugar and inflammation has been well established, so reducing your intake of processed sugars is a significant way to help combat inflammation. Check out our reducing sugar in your packaged foods infographic.

When done correctly, healthy eating reduces inflammation and can help you take control of your health, improve how you feel and  and live life on your terms. 

Why Are Senior Citizens At An Increased Risk for Inflammation?

As your body ages, your immune system becomes less well regulated and chronic inflammation becomes more and more common. Chronic inflammation can lead your immune system to attack healthy blood vessels and tissues within your body, putting you at an increased risk of developing conditions like diabetes, heart disease, dementia, depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, joint pain, belly fat, and elevated cholesterol & blood pressure.

Scientists also believe that as you age, your body’s cytokine response becomes less well regulated. Research conducted by the International Anesthesiology Clinics Journal shows that when your body secretes more cytokines than it needs, your body suffers from an increased rate of inflammation.

Healthy eating done correctly can help you reduce and prevent inflammation and support your overall health.

Healthy Eating For Senior Citizens – Eat more of some foods and less of others

Even in the world of healthy foods it isn’t all the same. You want to move yourself to a place of “imbalance” where you eat more of some foods and less of others. The Harvard School of Public Health provides evidence-based guidance to help you choose foods that will reduce inflammation and avoid those that cause it.  Thankfully, these are simple nutritional rules that you can follow without drastically modifying the way you eat. This makes it easier to create a diet that fits your lifestyle – one that is sustainable and personalized to how you like to eat and live. Read: Activating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet That’s Right for You.

Here are some tips to help you eat to reduce inflammation:

Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods

When people go through our anti-inflammatory healthy eating program we teach them to focus on the “plus” side of things – the foods they want to eat more of. It’s an empowering way to take control and reduce your inflammation through diet. Your job is to “crowd in” foods that are full of nutrients and naturally low in sugar. Here’s how:

  • Aim to make vegetables and fruits half of what you eat a day

  • Eat the rainbow – lots of colors and different ones. Make half raw and half cooked

  • “Crowd in” the dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard, arugula), broccoli and asparagus

  • Include healthy plant based proteins like beans, lentils, and unsalted nuts and seeds

  • Include healthy fats like olives, avocadoes, and unsalted seeds & nuts

  • Eat fish twice a week – include fatty fish like salmon. Research shows that the  oils in fatty fish actively help to reduce inflammation, heart disease, and cancer. 

For more guidance, check out: Easy Ways to Eat More Anti Inflammatory Foods, Foods that Reduce Inflammation Infographic and Will an Anti Inflammatory Diet Work for You.

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Eat Less Of The Foods That Cause Inflammation

These foods contribute to inflammation:

  • Sugar

  • Trans fats

  • Fried foods

  • Refined grains (white versions)

  • Soda

Reducing sugar and avoiding trans fats are two important steps you can take to reduce inflammation. One easy way to reduce sugar is to replace your white grain products (breads, crackers, cereals, pastas) with “100% whole grain” versions.  Most baked goods contain shortening which include Trans fats. Read labels carefully, and if you see “hydrogenated” before the oil type it’s a trans fat and you should avoid it. 

For more guidance, check out: Foods that Cause Inflammation, Reducing Sugar in Packaged Foods Infographic, and Foods that Cause Inflammation Infographic.

Additional Senior Citizen Healthy Eating Guidance

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as we get older our bodies have different needs, so certain nutrients become especially important for good health. Make sure you are pulling in enough of these nutrients:

Include more protein

All seniors need to consume higher levels of protein to help preserve muscle mass. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that seniors were not getting enough protein, with 6% of men over 71 and 4-6% of women over 50 not getting the recommended amounts of protein. As we age, it is normal to lose muscle mass, and this can cause you to fall. You are also more susceptible to illness and injury. Recent evidence shows that the recommended amounts of protein may be too low. Seniors may need 1.0-1.3 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh 180 pounds this could mean consuming 80-104 grams of protein every day, regardless of your calorie intake.

One tip we teach in our program is to assemble and eat 2:1. Whenever you eat, mentally divide your plate into thirds and fill 2 parts with vegetables/fruits and one part with protein. This will ensure you eat enough protein over the course of your day. “Crowd in” plant based protein sources like beans, lentils, unsalted seeds & nuts and choose healthy animal proteins (plain greek yogurt, eggs, chicken, fish, lean cuts of animal meats).

Calcium and Vitamin D

Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health. To meet these needs, select calcium-rich foods like dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish with soft bones, and fortified plant-based beverages. And low fat dairy is a good choice if you do not have a dairy-sensitivity. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, such as salmon, eggs and fortified foods and beverages. If you take a calcium supplement or multivitamin, choose one that contains vitamin D.

Vitamin B12

Some adults older than 50 may not be able to absorb enough vitamin B12 from their diet. Fortified cereal, lean meat and some fish and seafood are sources of vitamin B12. Ask your doctor for a B12 test (blood test) to determine if you need a vitamin B12 supplement.  

Dietary Fiber

Eat fiber-rich foods to stay regular. Dietary fiber also may help lower your risk for heart disease and reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes.  Aim to make vegetables and fruits half of what you eat a day to get the amount of fiber your body needs to run well.  And when you eat grains, choose  versions that are  “100%  whole-grain”.

Potassium and Salt

Consuming adequate potassium, along with limiting sodium (salt) intake, may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables, beans and low-fat or fat-free dairy products are good sources of potassium. In our healthy eating & cooking program, we teach participants how to use flavor balancing to use less salt and create delicious meals and snacks they love.

Know Your Fats

Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, which are primarily found in nuts, seeds, avocados,olives, vegetable oils and fish. Choose foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fat to help reduce your risk of heart disease.

You Got This! Eat To Reduce Inflammation and Take Control Of Your Health!

Healthy eating done correctly will reduce inflammation, improve your health, and help you stay strong and sharp so you can enjoy your retirement, keep up with your grandkids and live life on your terms!  

If you’re interested in learning about inflammation and how to reduce it through your diet, check out Activating an Anti-Inflammatory Diet That’s Right for YOU.  And you can also sign up for a FREE trial of the Savory Living online healthy eating lifestyle program that guides you step-by-step to get your eating working right for you!  You’ll learn how to eat to reduce inflammation to solve what you care about (moods, energy, weight goals, headaches, digestive issues, joint pain, food sensitivities, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes etc.) and you’ll get the time-saving eating, cooking & flavoring skills to turn it into an easy lifestyle you love! It’s a nutrition class + healthy cooking class + private nutrition coach that runs online, on your schedule.

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