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Eat well, live well

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on March 01, 2011 with No Comments

If you want to gauge how well you are aging, you may want to look at your diet. Eating a low-salt, low-fat diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables and fiber can actually reduce your age-related risks of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases.

“Good nutrition plays an increasingly important role in how well you age, and at times it can be a challenge, particularly if we’ve been ill or must adjust to cooking for just one or two,” Jill Kilhefner, registered dietician at Porter, said. “It’s vital that we eat well to live well.”

Are you getting enough vitamins?

Early on in the senior years, it is particularly important to take in adequate calcium and vitamin D to maintain strong bones, according to Kilhefner. Many seniors also lack vitamin B12, which is important in maintaining healthy nerve cells and red blood cells. Vitamin B12 is found in fortified cereal, lean meat and some fish or seafood. Kilhefner recommends adding a vitamin supplement designed for seniors if you struggle with getting your nutrients.

Do you limit your sodium?

“Limiting sodium is another challenge, especially if you’re eating a lot of processed foods,” Kilhefner said. She advocates making your own foods so you can control the salt content.

Are you getting regular exercise?

Kilhefner also warns that seniors need to match their activity level to their eating.
“Weight gain can creep up on you if you maintain the same eating habits while becoming more sedentary,” she said.

Kilhefner advises increasing the activity level rather than reducing the calories.

“Active seniors are generally healthier seniors. Exercise maintains muscle mass, maintains metabolism, helps to keep your G.I. system in tune and reduces your risk for diabetes and other problems.

This information was provided by Porter Health System’s Senior Circle newsletter. Senior Circle is a national, not-for-profit organization committed to enriching the lives of adults age 50 and over. For more information, contact the Senior Circle Advisor at 219-263-5087, or at nwiseniorcircle@porterhealth.com. More information is also available at www.seniorcircle.com.

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