The importance of eating well in later life
Diet advice is everywhere these days and much of it conflicts itself. Eat more fat, eat less fat, reduce your sugar, abstain from alcohol for January, do meat-free Monday. It can be very confusing trying to process all the conflicting messages pouring out of supposedly authoritative sources.
What we do know is that it’s as important to watch what you eat in later life as it is when you’re young. If you are finding it hard to prepare food then ask if your in home care provider can help you by preparing meals. Live in care jobs often require candidates to prepare food so make sure it’s in your requirements when looking for candidates.
Perhaps the most obvious health complication associated with diet is diabetes and if you have developed this condition you will already be used to watching the sugar content of what you eat. But if you aren’t diagnosed as diabetic then ensuring you keep sugary foods to an occassional treat will reduce your risk of developing the condition.
As we get older our hearts naturally get less efficient. Fat is the one to watch to reduce your risk of heart disease but not all fats are bad. Reduce the amount of “bad” fat in your diet by taking small steps such as grilling bacon instead of frying it, poaching eggs instead of frying them and cooking low-fat oven chips instead of, you guessed it, frying them.
In fact frying and consuming dairy fats, such as butter and cream, are some of the worst offenders when it comes to heart health. On the “good” list are things such as olive oil (in moderation), avocados and nuts – all of which can be enjoyed as part of a heart healthy and varied diet.
Eat Your Greens
A daily serving of leafy green vegetables – whether that is spinach, lettuce, kale or cabbage – is a great way to boost your system. If you find them difficult to eat try blending them with some apple juice and a banana into a easy to digest smoothie or chopping finely into a salad.
Leafy greens (sorry, tinned peas don’t count) can help protect against cancer and are best eaten is as close to a raw state as you can tolerate. They are also a great way of getting your daily allowances of a whole host of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and magnesium.
Watch your portions
Our calorie requirements drop with age as our metabolisms slow down. It’s important to make sure that you reduce your portion sizes to ensure you aren’t overeating. Many of us have a long-established habits of clearing our plates so it can be difficult to listen to our bodies and stop eating when we’re full. A simple alternative is to put less on the plate in the first place!
Becoming overweight can reduce your mobility which, in turn, can increase your risk of a serious fall. If you are unsure about what you should be eating have a word with your doctor who can give you further advice.