March is National Nutrition Month. Good nutrition is essential for your family’s heart health. Healthful eating, physical activity, and weight control all prevent chronic disease. Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do — no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. Here are 10 ways to improve your nutritional health as you age:
1. Consume more liquids-As you age, your sense of thirst lessens. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated even if you don't exactly feel thirsty.
2. Eat a variety of foods-Consuming a variety of foods will ensure you're getting all the nutrients you need. According to the National Council on Aging, a healthy meal should consist of a lean protein, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy.
3. Plan your meals-If you plan your meals throughout the week, you'll be more likely to follow through with your healthy eating habits.
4. Minimize your use of table salt-As you age, your sense of taste declines. Make sure you're consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium every day.
5. Season with herbs and spices-Instead of seasoning your foods with salt, use fresh herbs and spices. Cayenne pepper, basil, sage, rosemary and turmeric are healthy choices that are packed with flavor.
6. Read nutrition labels-When shopping for packaged and canned foods, check the nutrition label before making the purchase. Even if it's advertised as a healthy choice, it could be loaded with added fat, sodium and sugar that you won't find unless you read the label carefully.
7. Follow recommended servings-In order to maintain a healthy weight, it's very important to follow the recommended serving sizes.
8. Reduce sugar consumption-Refined sugars are loaded with empty calories that offer no nutritional value. Reduce the sugary treats in your diet and start eating whole foods that are naturally sweet.
9. Choose healthy fats-You shouldn't cut all fats from your diet. Instead, just eliminate the saturated and trans fats. Olive oil, avocado, nuts and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are excellent choices.
10. Consider supplements-Eating well is the best way to get the nutrients you need, but sometimes, it's not enough. You may want to consider talking to your doctor about taking supplements.