Do You Eat a Balanced Diet
Before knocking yourself crazy for a sensible answer, you should know what a “balanced diet” is. We’ve been hearing this phrase since our elementary grades but never got a good grip on it.
A “balanced diet” is a diet that gives your body the necessary nutrients to function properly.
It is necessary to stay healthy especially in old age; it helps maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk of developing chronic medical conditions like heart disease and diabetes.
Though very straightforward and simple, the definition still falls off the mark. It is vague, to say the least. For example, I am old, healthy, energetic, my BMI is ideal and I don’t have any chronic medical condition. Is my diet balanced?
I don’t know. And I am sure you don’t either.
Eating a balanced diet is a tough call if for a live-along senior like me. Even working up an appetite, no matter how nutritious the foods are on the table, requires great effort No place is more lonely than a huge dining table if you eat alone.
But we have to eat. We have to eat not only to survive but to be strong and free from infirmities; to be able to enjoy life and celebrate for having reached this far.
Here are some tips to do that:
1. Never miss a square meal and snacks in between:
It is bad to go hungry at any age. It is awful if you are old and frail.
So eat. It is better to eat anything than have your stomach grind nothing. Besides, all foods are nutritious, though some more than others.
Be careful, however, on foods that will worsen diabetes, arthritis, cholesterol levels or hypertension (If you have them).
You are not doing yourself any good if you insist on these. There are several alternatives in the market. Exercise diligence and search them out.
2. Don’t forget your proteins:
Proteins are necessary for a lean body mass, repair of damaged cells, and a healthy immune system. But too much protein is bad. It can raise the risk of diabetes, cancer and other serious medical issues.
Eggs are good sources of protein, provided they are cooked well. The salmonella bacteria, which is very harmful to your health, also love eggs.
Other sources of protein for you are lean meat like beef, pork, chicken, and fish; low-fat dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk, and nuts and beans such as Brazil nuts, cashew, peanuts, pecans, etc. Be careful, though, if you have uric acid problems.
3. Get more fibers:
Fibers are recommended for seniors for a lot of reasons. They help bring down cholesterol levels, and helps lower the risk of getting some types of cancer like colorectal.
A high fiber diet helps in controlling the blood’s glucose levels, reduces the risk of constipation and the formation of hemorrhoids.
The foods you eat daily have fiber content. But you get more from whole-grain cereals like brown rice, rice cakes, wholemeal pasta, corn, oats, quinoa, cracked wheat, etc.
Fruits and vegetables are also high on of fibers.
If budget is a problem, buy non-seasonal fruits like bananas, pineapple, apple, etc., to make sure you won’t ran out of supply.
4. Drink plenty of water:
There’s a standard quantity of water you must drink in a day. But if you don’t want to fuss over the quantity of water you have drank, a good-size glass of water every hour is enough to keep you hydrated.
There are good reasons for staying hydrated like, improved metabolism, and digestive, urinary, and kidney healths. It also boosts brain function.
5. Strike an exchange deal with a friend:
If another senior is nearby, befriend him for strategic reasons – to have somebody to share a meal with.
Dining is never meant to be a solo performance. It is always better if taken with somebody you can relate with. If you can do it with a neighbor, that would open several possibilities like buying foodstuff for two in one go, or taking turns in meal preparation. It saves a lot of time, gas, and other food items and supplies.
6. Take dietary supplements:
If you have certain medical conditions, or some difficulty getting the right kinds of nutritional foods, consider taking food supplements.
This should be a last resort, though. Studies show that 60% of seniors taking nutritional supplements don’t actually need them. It’s good money thrown away.
However, never do it without prior consultation with a doctor or dietitian. They know what kind of supplements you should take and the dosage. Don’t entrust your health to an online ad or a sweet-talking multi-level marketer.
Nutritional food is a serious business when one gets old. It is not so much a problem in our younger days when our stomach can digest nails. But old age brings a lot of physical and physiological changes that make it necessary to be choosy on the types of food we eat and how often. Gone are the days when eating binges were the order of the day. Now, a lot seniors are lucky to have something to eat in any given day. And when they do, satisfying hunger is the main concern, not nutrition.
Consider yourself blessed – even if you don’t have a balanced diet.
Please share with other seniors so they will be more careful with what they eat.