Please join us March 21st at 1:30 pm in the PAC for our Smart Moves presentation on this topic.
Eating a well-balanced mix of foods every day has many health benefits. Eating well may reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. If you have one or more of these chronic diseases, eating well and being physically active may help you better manage them. Healthy eating may also help you reduce high blood pressure, lower high cholesterol, and manage diabetes. Eating well gives you the nutrients needed to keep your muscles, bones, organs, and other parts of your body healthy throughout your life. Eating well helps keep up your energy level by consuming enough calories. In order to get energy from food, the number of calories needed depends on how old you are, whether you’re a man or woman, your height and weight, and how active you are.
Eating well is important for everyone at all ages. Your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health, how you look, and feel. Older adults should choose foods rich in fiber; drink 8 glasses of water and other beverages that are low in added sugars. Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.
We often think of fats as unhealthy, but your body needs a limited amount of certain kinds of fats. Fats give you energy and also help your body absorb vitamins. However, fat contains more than twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Eating too many high-fat foods will add extra calories and lead to weight gain. Excess weight increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or other health problems. Excess weight can also make it harder to control these diseases if you have them.
Eating is one of life’s pleasures, but some people lose interest in eating as they get older. They may find that food no longer tastes good or don’t enjoy meals because they often eat alone. Others may have problems chewing or digesting the food they eat. If you don’t feel like eating because of problems with chewing, digestion, or gas, talk with your doctor or a dietitian. Avoiding some foods could mean you miss out on necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, or protein. Not eating enough could mean that you don’t consume enough nutrients or calories. One reason people lose interest in eating is that their sense of taste and smell change with age. Foods you once enjoyed might seem to have less flavor when you get older. Some medicines can change your sense of taste or make you feel less hungry. Talk with your doctor if you have no appetite, or if you find that food tastes bad or has no flavor.