We’ve all heard that a healthy diet is important, but why?
Poor diets have been linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, weight gain, and can even contribute to mental health issues. Conversely, a healthy diet can help manage these conditions and can help stave off age-related conditions.
According to the National Institute on Aging, there are five simple tips that you should make a priority every day:
- Try to be physically active for at least 30 minutes on most or all days of the week.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
- Choose foods that are low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
- Pick whole grains and lean sources of protein and dairy products.
- Practice all four types of exercise—endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
What is the Best Diet?
Heart Healthy Diet: What’s the best diet for heart health? “Research shows that the Mediterranean diet—full of fruits, vegetables, fish, cereals, and legumes, with little meat and dairy—may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Furthermore, diet may affect risk of sudden cardiac death.
Diabetes Diet: The “diabetes diet”, according to the Mayo Clinic, has similar traits to the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet—fruits, vegetables, nuts, lean meats and fish, etc. Tips from The American Diabetes Association outline a simple strategy for meal planning called, “the plate method.”
The plate method
- Fill half of your plate with nonstarchy vegetables, such as spinach, carrots and tomatoes.
- Fill a quarter of your plate with a protein, such as tuna, lean pork, or chicken.
- Fill the last quarter with a whole-grain item, such as brown rice, or a starchy vegetable, such as green peas.
- Include “good” fats such as nuts or avocados in small amounts.
- Add a serving of fruit or dairy and a drink of water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Eating for Your Age: It is also important to eat for nutrition. Diets need to consist of certain percentages of calories, proteins, fats, carbs, and other nutritional factors. Dietary needs change with age and with activity levels. As people age, they often need to consume fewer calories and their protein and carbohydrate needs change. Additionally, the elderly may need more calcium, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B-12 than their younger counterparts. It is important to consult with a dietary nutritionist or your primary care provider to determine what your dietary and nutritional needs are.
Eating for Brain Health: According to the Harvard Health article, “Nutritional Psychiatry and your Brain on Food,” foods affect brain health and can even impact mood disorders, like depression. High-antioxidant foods can protect the brain and high-sugar foods can negatively impact it.
With an emphasis on prevention, our family doctors and adult medicine providers at Paradise Medical Group are able to help you develop a nutritional plan to fit your health goals and needs.