1. Why are healthy eating patterns important for older adults?
Nutrient needs change as you age. Eating nutrient-rich foods will help you get the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need. Healthy eating , will also help to prevent or manage heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
Eat a variety of food each day. Aim for ½ of your plate to be vegetables and fruits, ¼ of your plate to be protein foods such as beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, dairy products (milk, yogurt, and cheese) and lean meat and poultry, and ¼ of your plate to be whole grains . Why not try our Vegetarian Chili recipe and put the food guide into practice!
Limit foods high in sugar, sodium or saturated fat such as highly processed foodsiv. Use food labels to help you make healthy food choices (5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot) . If you choose highly processed foods, eat them less often and in small amountsiv.
Older adults are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis ; this is when bones get weak and thin. Calcium and vitamin D are good for your bones. It is best to get your calcium from food: milk, fortified soy beverages, yogurt, cheese and canned salmon with bones. Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods but it is in fatty fish, egg yolk and liver. That’s why vitamin D is added to some foods like cow’s milk, soy, almond or rice beverages, and margarine. Health Canada recommends that everyone over the age of 50 should take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU . Talk to your health care provider about taking a vitamin D or calcium supplements.
Mission Healthy Bones is an Ottawa Public Health resource that lists food sources of both nutrients. It can be found in the Healthy Eating for Older Adults section where you can also find various recipes. These include Tofu Stir Fry, Quick Macaroni and Cheese, and Easy Seafood Burgers recipes that are good sources of calcium and Vitamin D.
For more information on a healthy eating pattern, be sure to visit the new Canada’s food guide’s website and its resource page for older adults, titled “seniors”.
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