Eating Well As We Age

Eating well helps prevent and fight chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, congestive heart failure, and osteoporosis, which are all more common later in life and considered diseases of aging. Food is very powerful. Too much of any food can lead to obesity, we all know that. Too little of the right foods can lead to various deficiencies and abnormalities. Eating the right balance of the right foods is key to good health.

Determining how to “eat well” begins with first knowing your Hauser Diet Type. We say this because there is no one perfect “healthy” diet for everyone. Let us put that a different way. Everyone should not be eating the same diet. To say that all foods are either healthy or unhealthy for all people is just not true. Why? Because each person has an individual Diet Type.

For example, some people feel great, have a lot of energy, and keep a stable weight eating a lot of carbohydrates such as veggies, fruits, and grains (as in the Hauser Giraffe Diet Type™); where other people feel best eating more of a protein/fat based diet consisting of meat, chicken, eggs, and butter (as in the Hauser Lion Diet Type™.) You can determine where you fall on the Hauser Diet spectrum by getting Hauser Diet Typing at Caring Medical. You will find out if you are a Lion, Otter, Bear, Monkey, or Giraffe Diet Type! Hauser Diet Typing will eliminate the guessing game. You can KNOW your individual dietary physiology by getting blood tests that correlate to your particular Hauser Diet Type. Chapter 1 of the Hauser Diet book explains Hauser Diet Typing in more detail.

In Chapter 11 of The Hauser Diet book, we discuss how to get healthy. The first step is getting started. Most people think that they are relatively healthy and disease-free, until one day, they are the ones laying on the gurney getting wheeled in for bypass surgery. Much of staying healthy has to do with the foods you eat and the activities that you do. Never underestimate the power of food. Many of us need a lifestyle change. We cannot continue on the same road, eating the same toxic, nutrient-poor foods, getting no exercise, and continue being overcommitted and tired.

As we age, it is more and more difficult to stay healthy immersed in the lifestyle described above. As we age our metabolism tends to slow down and consequently our need for calories usually decreases. At the same time, our vitamin and mineral requirements stay the same or even increase in some cases. A diet rich in nutrient-packed foods is the best way to get high nutritional value with lower calories.

What foods are important as we age?

Getting enough calcium from foods like organic dairy products, collard greens, and salmon or from nutritional supplements help prevent osteoporosis as we get older. Recent studies show that calcium may also promote a healthy body weight.

Adding fiber to your diet has shown to decrease chances of colon cancer and heart disease. Choose whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals and eat plenty of high fiber vegetables like broccoli, carrots, and celery. Beans are another nutrient and fiber-loaded food. Fiber supplements can also be purchased in bulk or tablet form to increase fiber intake and improve bowel function.

Choose carbohydrates with caution. White carbohydrates, like white bread, white flour, and sugar, are devoid of nutrients and fiber, so avoid them as much as possible. Vegetables, whole grains, and whole fruits are the healthiest and most nutrient-rich carbohydrates. Choose organically grown fruits and vegetables, when possible since they are grown naturally without using unhealthy pesticides.

Choose foods low in hydrogenated fats, using good fats such as organic olive, coconut, and flax seed oils. Avoid “empty calorie” foods, which are foods and drinks with a lot of calories, but not many nutrients, such as chips, cookies, soda, and alcohol.

As we get older, some of us become more forgetful and have troubles concentrating

A diet rich in antioxidants, in combination with mental stimulation, contributes to maintaining cognitive health. Foods rich in vitamins E and C, such as tomatoes, carrots, spinach, and citrus fruits are recommended. Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, and B12, and pantothenic acid are also known to help memory loss.

What do active “seniors” need?

If you are a senior athlete you need more calories and fluids than seniors that are less active than you. Include sufficient protein to help your body rebuild after a long workout, so add lean meats, peanut butter and nuts in your diet. You also need adequate amounts of the right carbohydrates, such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables – just be sure you are consuming enough of these to replace lost fuel from your activity. Eating within 30 minutes of exercising is best to replace lost glycogen. It is best to eat according to your Diet Type to know what blend of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you need.

Maintain a healthy weight

Although we need to watch our calorie intake closer as we get older, we also need to maintain a certain amount of weight as well. Having some weight on our bodies as we get older can help us if we become sick and need to rely on our bodies to provide energy. So, if you are over weight by five pounds, don’t get down on yourself. You might need that extra body fat in case you get sick. But if you are 40 or 50 pounds overweight, it’s time to make some major changes!

Set some goals

Try to identify 3 nutrition goals this week that will help you eat healthier. For example, try eliminating soda from your daily intake (whether Diet or Regular). How about increasing your vegetable intake every day? Do you eat any veggies? Think about it!

Exercise, including aerobic and weight-bearing exercises, is also a very important component to maintaining physical and cognitive health as we age, so why not set 3 exercise goals this week as well? Start walking 1 mile per day. Lift weights in the basement or try using that treadmill with the dust all over it.