The winter holidays are nearly upon us, which often presents challenges in eating well. The temptation to overindulge is ever present and it takes some willpower to maintain a healthy diet during this time.
Healthy Eating Tips
Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
Make sure to include a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains in your diet. Foods that are particularly rich in nutrients include wild Alaskan salmon (rich in Omega-3s), blueberries (high in antioxidants), kale (a powerful anti-inflammatory food rich in vitamins), avocados (a good source of healthy fats), eggs (high-quality protein and nutrients), chia seeds (high in fiber and protein), and almonds (high in calcium, nutrient seniors may need more due to the fact that bones lose density as we age).
Take a Loss of Appetite or Weight Loss Seriously
With America’s obsession with losing weight, weight loss in seniors may not raise any immediate cause for alarm. However, a loss of appetite and subsequent weight loss may be a symptom of other issues, such as depression, adverse reactions to medication, dental problems, or other maladies. Dr. John E. Morley of St. Louis University developed a screening tool to detect appetite problems in seniors. Dr. Morley goes so far as to say that, “for senior adults, weight loss correlates with death.” The good news, according to Morley, is that “90 percent of the diseases that cause weight loss in older adults are treatable.”
Obesity is a Major Health Concern
Seniors may have lost interest in cooking, due to living alone and no longer having a spouse to care for. This can lead to overreliance on processed foods that are easy to fix but can be high in calories, sugar, sodium, and fat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 34 percent of seniors are classified as obese and that number reaches 40 percent when you look at those between the ages of 65-74. Numerous studies have shown that obesity increases your risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, obese people tend to have less energy and therefore are less physically active than their normal-weight counterparts, which exacerbates the problem. Those who are overweight have higher medical costs, have more illness, and recover more slowly from injuries. Obesity in seniors may be caused by numerous factors, including physical (hormonal changes), environmental (poverty), genetics (it does run in families), or certain diseases.
Don’t Confuse “Low Fat” Foods With Good Health
Many low-fat or nonfat foods are loaded with sugar (and therefore, calories), which can be more harmful to health than fats. Second, not all fats are created equal. Many foods high in fat – avocados, olive oil, wild salmon, walnuts – have numerous benefits and can actually help improve health. There are fats you should always avoid – trans fats being the main culprit, which you can identify on food labels when you see the word “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated.” In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that by June 18, 2018, all food manufacturers must ensure that their products no longer contain partially hydrogenated oils for uses that have not been otherwise authorized by FDA.
Webster at Rye’s Commitment to Nutritious and Delicious Dining
Webster at Rye believes that every meal should be a dining experience, full of flavor and nutrition, and served by a wait staff that helps ensure your complete satisfaction. All meals are prepared under the guidance of a registered dietician and we work to ensure we are able to meet your dietary restrictions and preferences.
This article is not intended to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Speak to your doctor and/or a registered dietitian if you have questions about your nutritional needs.