By Anna D. Banks, GCDF
Youth is a transient phase and the process of aging is natural. However, most of us want to remain fit and youthful for as long as we live. None of us want to undergo the miseries and sufferings of age-related ailments. Therefore, one of the best solutions to counteract the effects of aging and to maintain our fitness right into our old age is to consume a nutritionally rich, healthy diet.
The various benefits of proper nutrition and a healthy diet before and after retirement are: a stronger immune system; resistance to disease and illness; sharper mental faculties; higher levels of energy; better recuperation; and being able to manage chronic ailments better.
One of the first things you need to do to eat well for long-term health is learning what your body requires right now. Here are a few tips that will get you started.
Make choices in the food you consume that are:
* Dense in nutrition – low in sodium and saturated fat, high in calcium and fiber, with the calories in moderate quantity;
* Full of flavor so that mealtimes will be something that you will look forward to;
* Appealing to look at and
* Easy to digest.
Eating nutritious meals is not as difficult as it may sound. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Choose healthy carbohydrates. Eschew all types of refined products like white rice, white bread any product in which white flour has been used. Instead choose whole grain products such as bread made of whole wheat, brown rice, rolled oats, millet, barley etc.
Get your roughage. Include at least one serving of raw vegetables and fruits every day. The main advantage of raw foods is that their nutritional value is preserved, and it is the best way to get rid of constipation. Raw vegetables and fruits are full of minerals, vitamins, fiber, and enzymes that help digestion. Besides, you don’t have to spend too much time preparing them. If you find it difficult to bite or chew, cut carrots or apples into small pieces. Or why not make a healthy green salad with shredded and grated vegetables.
Steam your veggies. Another way to preserve the nutrients in vegetables is to cook them by steaming. Or else sauté them lightly. When vegetables are boiled the nutrients are leeched from them, although the water leftover can be used as stock for soup.
Eat lean protein. Poultry, eggs, fish, tofu, nuts, beans and peas are all protein; hence you can vary your choices of healthy and lean protein easily. Choose skinless chicken or turkey. By using cooking methods like grilling, baking, broiling, poaching or steaming, not only will the flavor be enhanced, but you will also be eating low-cholesterol, low-fat healthy meals. Reduce your consumption of red meats, since they have saturated fat, and avoid meats that are very salty such as ham or bacon.
Get adequate calcium. Not all dairy foods are equal. While the calcium content in yogurt, milk and cheese are retained, it is not in cream cheese, butter and cream. Choose dairy products that are either low in fat or are fat-free. If you cannot tolerate lactose, consider products that are either low-lactose or are free of lactose, like yogurt and hard cheese. You could also consider a calcium supplement to get your daily quota of calcium.
Choose “good” fats. Fats like sunflower oil, olive oil, avocado oil, and those derived from seeds and nuts are considered healthy.
Eat foods high in moisture. Apart from drinking adequate amounts of water every day, eat foods that are high in water content. Proper hydration helps to flush out your body’s toxins, alleviates constipation, keeps your joints supple, and aids in keeping the mind sharp and clear. Foods like grapes, melons, cucumbers, apples, onions, cabbage, and soup are high in water content.
The human body is an amazingly complex structure that can run for many years without requiring much maintenance. Most of us take our bodies for granted, abusing it with wrong foods, drugs, alcohol and unhealthy lifestyles. And then when it breaks down, we wonder why. Hence, in order to be healthy and fit right into the golden years of our lives, we need to take care of ourselves by eating nutritious and healthy food.
© 2008 Anna D. Banks, GCDF
Do you have any questions about career development or lifestyle changes for Baby Boomers, which you think others, like you, would want to know the answers? Email your questions to me at Anna@AnnaBanks.com.