A healthy diet is important at any age but eating well is especially beneficial for older adults. Proper nutrition is imperative to reduce the risk of developing chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Additionally, a balanced diet can help older adults maintain a healthy weight, stay energized, and get the nutrients they need. Overall, the goal of healthy eating should be to consume foods that your body needs. While you should always check with your physician before making any drastic dietary changes, here are just a few tips to guide you towards healthy eating this new year.

Eat a Variety of Nutrient-Rich Foods

Adding variety to your diet is the best way to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. While your caloric needs are likely to decrease as you age, the nutrients you need may increase. Notably, older adults need to consume adequate amounts of potassium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, just to name a few. Incorporate different nutrient-dense foods into your daily diet like:

Vegetables and fruits
Beans and lentils
Nuts and seeds
Whole grains
Lean protein
Low-fat dairy products

Look for new ways to cook some of these foods (try roasting or air-frying) if they’re not your favorites. Or, try adding low-sodium seasonings for extra flavor. Consider buying pre-sliced or frozen varieties of fruits and vegetables for added convenience. In general, avoid foods that are high in calories, but low in nutrients: limit processed junk foods like potato chips and pastries.

Consume Enough Fiber and Calcium

Besides the nutrients listed above, older adults need to consume enough fiber and calcium each day. The digestive system slows down with age as the walls of the gastrointestinal tract thicken. Fiber is essential for proper digestion, avoiding constipation, and for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. Aim to include a fiber-rich food at every meal. Great options include whole grain oats, almonds, or raspberries.

Calcium is essential for maintaining bone health as we age. Aim to consume the recommended 1200mg of calcium daily to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Calcium rich foods include milk, yogurt, and cheeses. Or, choose dairy-free options like green vegetables or cereals fortified with calcium.

Choose Healthy Fats

When aiming to eat healthy, many people steer clear of fats. However, there are such things as “good fats,” and they are an essential part of a balanced diet. Try to eliminate saturated and trans-fats, but still regularly consume healthy fats found in olive oil, avocados, and nuts. Nutritionists also suggest eating fish twice a week to consume adequate omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids protect against diseases by lowering inflammation. Further, research suggests omega-3s can improve brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Try Superfoods

Some diet choices are especially nutrient dense with loads of added benefits. These foods are frequently labeled “superfoods.” From essential vitamins to cancer-boosting antioxidants, try adding these foods to your diet to improve everything from cognitive function to immunity. Not only are they good for you, but they are delicious, too!

Consider Supplements

Perhaps all of these dietary recommendations are overwhelming or you’re just a picky eater. If you worry that your diet is falling short of essential nutrients, consider adding supplements. Consult with your doctor to determine if you should (or can) take a vitamin or mineral supplement. Calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin B-12 are often poorly absorbed or not consumed enough by older adults.

Stay Hydrated

While what you eat is important, what you drink is just as essential to your overall health! Older adults often don’t notice when they are thirsty, so make drinking water a regular habit. Steer away from soft drinks or other high-sugar beverages. Instead, aim for eight 8-oz glasses of water each day. Your goal is to fight dehydration which can lead to fatigue, confusion, and irritability.

Refine Your Diet This New Year

Instead of resolving to lose weight this new year, aim to create healthy eating habits instead. Learn about the nutrients that your aging body needs, and set a goal to balance your diet. Simple adjustments can help you reap great benefits to improve your overall health.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I am Alex John, a blogger at The Asian Posts