Pamela K. Matura, Executive Director, Area Agency on Aging District 7
“Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” This quote from Hippocrates in 400 BC is still very relevant today. Hippocrates believed the human body had an innate capacity for self-healing. Healthy eating is certainly a huge part of maintaining our overall good health. March is National Nutrition Month and a good time to be reminded of healthy eating habits and how we can provide our bodies with the best fuel possible. As the old saying goes, “you are what you eat!”
Good nutrition is important all throughout the stages of life as it promotes health and helps prevent and manage many diseases. Through the Area Agency on Aging District 7 (AAA7), we join other Area Agencies on Aging throughout the nation and the federal Administration on Community Living to promote our Elderly Nutrition Program that not only provides food to seniors in our district, but also reduces hunger and food insecurities for older individuals and provides safety checks for those receiving home-delivered meals.
Healthy nutrition is important for all ages and our AAA7 registered dietitian has shared with me the importance and benefits of healthy eating and ways to incorporate healthier eating habits into our lives. Read the tips below from www.nutrition411.com to learn more about healthy eating habits for you and your family:
A low-calorie snack
Half a large pepper offers you a full day’s worth of vitamin C. Munch on a pepper, just as you would on an apple, for a delicious, low-calorie snack.
Cherries for your health
Cherries are a great choice, whether fresh or dried.They are rich in fiber and vitamin C, and are associated with heart health and reducing the risk of cancer. Cherries are also rich in melatonin, which may help with sleep!
Fresh or frozen
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh. Toss carrots, broccoli, or corn into canned soup, or make a fruit smoothie for a quick, delicious breakfast.
Fiber for digestive health
Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables gives you fiber that keeps your digestive tract healthy and helps protect against diseases such as diverticulosis.
The benefits of blue and purple
All fruits and vegetables from the blue and purple color family contain flavonoids, the most powerful phytochemicals found in nature. Phytochemicals decrease one’s risk of cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and much more!
Excess calories are fattening, carbohydrates are not.
‘Soft’ fat vs ‘hard’ fat
Choose your fat wisely. Limit your intake of “hard” fat, such as lard and butter, and use more “soft” fat, such as olive oil and canola oil.
Fiber-rich breads, cereals, and pastas curb your hunger. They also help with weight management.
Dark, colorful vegetables, such as broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and carrots, are more nutrient dense than pale cucumbers, mushrooms and celery.
Early to bed
Get some rest. Your body recovers and repairs while you are sleeping. Sleep can also affect your weight and mood.
A perfect start to the day
Start your day off right with oatmeal, an excellent source of whole grains. Spruce up your oatmeal with some cranberries, apples and nuts!
Fish for omega-3s
Fish contains significant amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids that promote heart health. When purchasing fish, buy domestic, wild varieties and stay current on the latest news.
If you cut 100 calories from your daily food intake, you could lose 10 pounds a year. It is as simple as skipping the cheese on your burger, choosing carbonated fruit-flavored water instead of a regular soda, or substituting pork sausage with turkey sausage.
Probiotics, found in many yogurts, are likely to help improve gut health, but they are not a “cure” for digestive problems. Fluid consumption, total fiber intake, physical activity, and stress reduction are also important for a healthy digestive tract.
To manage blood pressure and protect your heart, strive to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, reduce your salt intake, quit smoking (if you smoke), and manage your stress levels.
Lifelong, healthy habits can help reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Eat calcium-rich foods to build strong bones and maintain bone density. Exercise regularly. Monitor your salt intake.
For more information about home-delivered or congregate meal programs in your community, or to speak with a trained social worker or nurse about long-term care home and community-based options in your area, call us toll-free at 1-800-582-7277.