As you grow older, it’s more important than ever to maintain your physical and mental health. One of the best ways to do this is to fuel your body with the right foods. It can be challenging to make diet changes, but the benefits are worth it. Here are five reasons to have a healthy diet in your golden years.
- Disease Prevention
Eating a healthy diet can be an excellent tool for keeping disease at bay. The chances of developing conditions like high blood pressure, type II diabetes, heart disease, and more are less likely if you consistently eat healthily. A balanced diet typically consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products.
- Weight Control
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial as you age. If you are overweight or become obese, you are at a greater risk of developing diseases, including type II diabetes, heart disease, cancers, and more. However, eating a healthy and balanced diet can help you manage your weight.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests you eat various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. Do your best to limit the amount of food you eat that doesn’t have a lot of nutrients. For example, pastries, salty snacks, fried foods, and sodas tend to have a lot of calories but very little nutritional value.
- Energy Increase
Eating a balanced diet can also boost your energy levels. One of the best ways to see an increase in your energy is to eat consistently. It’s good to keep a routine and feed your body regularly. Another way is to, once again, eat a balanced diet with foods from all the necessary food groups.
It’s also good to be aware of foods that can decrease your energy levels. For example, foods with added sugar and drinks like soda, energy drinks, and coffee can be harmful if consumed too often. In moderation, food and drinks like this are okay, but it’s good to make sure you’re not consuming too much.
- Improved Mental Health
Maintaining good physical health can also help prevent cognitive decline in older adults. The CDC reports that consistently engaging in healthy behaviors may decrease your chance of developing a mental disease such as Alzheimer’s.
It’s also been reported that eating a healthy diet can help combat feelings of anxiety and depression. Stutter Health states, “a poor diet can actually aggravate, and may even lead to, stress and depression.” Although eating a healthy diet is not a complete solution to maintaining a healthy mind, it can still help combat some of these negative emotions.
By regularly eating a healthy diet, you can help prevent diabetes, obesity and help manage your cardiovascular health, all of which can help keep your mind healthy.
- Social Time
Eating healthy doesn’t necessarily need to be done alone. Engaging in your new healthy diet can be a social affair with friends and family. If you can, invite people over and cook a hearty meal together and have fun! Eating healthy is meant to be a positive lifestyle change, not a chore. Cooking healthy meals can be a great way to bond with your kids, grandkids, or friends. You and your loved ones can try new recipes and learn how to eat healthier together.
Making significant diets changes like this is not always easy. Try to start with small changes, so you’re more likely to stay consistent. Maybe you can begin by adding one vegetable to each meal, or you can drink five cups of water each day instead of two. Eating healthy is a personal journey, so start slow and work your way up!