Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging – It's Never Soon to Start!
Disclosure: Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans provided health and nutrition information that was used in this post. This post was sponsored by Anthem.
Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging!
March is National Nutrition Month and it’s a good opportunity to ensure you’re eating right. So we have partnered with Anthem, Inc and Diane Smogor who is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator with Anthem, Inc to help you learn tips for Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging. Anthem, Inc., works with the members of their affiliated Medicare health plans to help them establish healthy eating habits. By doing so, members can decrease their risk of developing some conditions many think are just part of being an older adult, such as weight gain, brittle bones, loss of muscle mass, heart disease, and strokes.
Reducing Weight Gain:
As we get older, it is much easier to gain weight. There is a decrease in your resting metabolic rate, which means you will need to eat fewer calories to maintain your weight. Choose foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to get maximum nutrition with minimum calories. Consider using an online food tracker or app to manage your calorie intake. I love the My Fitness Pal app and it's free to use.
Minimizing Bone Loss:
To maintain bone density, eat foods rich in calcium such as milk, yogurt, and cheese. For those with lactose intolerance, choose canned salmon or sardines with bones, broccoli, greens like collard greens, and kefir. Some foods are fortified with calcium such as orange juice, soy milk, almond milk and some breakfast cereals (check the label). Strive for at least 3 servings per day of calcium-rich foods or 1200 mg per day for women and 1000 mg per day for men.
Vitamin D, essential for calcium absorption, is also a necessary nutrient for bone health. Vitamin
D is converted in the skin to its usable form when exposed to sunlight and is found in a few foods such as fatty fish. Fatty fish is tuna, salmon, sardines, and mackerel. The recommended dietary allowance for Vitamin D is 600 mg per day. Try this Chili Lime Salmon Sheet Pan Recipe.
Maintaining Muscle Mass:
Stay physically active and eat lean protein foods such as lean meat, low fat dairy, eggs, nut butters, and tofu. Strive for 5 to 6 ounces per day.
Healthy Eating Reduces Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke:
To lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, be physically active and keep your blood pressure under control. Eat a diet rich in potassium, healthy fats, and fiber. Fruits and vegetables are rich in potassium and fiber. Include foods such as baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas, broccoli, and cantaloupe. Choose foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which include salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed. Other healthy fats are found in foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Choose seeds like
sunflower, sesame, pumpkin, and chia. Beneficial oils include olive, walnut, sesame, canola,
sunflower, peanut, and safflower. You might like this Vinegar and Basil Tomato Recipe.
Avoid adding salt to foods, choose foods lower in sodium, and reduce intake of processed and fast foods to help lower blood pressure. Consider following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet which is rich in legumes, vegetables, fruit, whole grain, and lean meat and dairy. Healthy eating is so important in reducing the risk of heart disease.
More information about the DASH diet is available here.
If you need help designing a healthy meal pattern, contact a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist RDN) for assistance. Many insurance plans, like the ones offered by Anthem, Inc.’s affiliated health plans, give members access to RDNs. You can also locate RDNs in your area by using the “Find an Expert” button on the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ website.
Diane is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator with Anthem, Inc. and is certified in the State of Indiana. She specializes in diabetes and maternal health and provides nutrition and diabetes management services to Medicaid pregnant members as well as education and training of OB case management staff.
Diane received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University and completed a dietetic internship at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. She was employed by a large teaching hospital in Indianapolis and worked closely with their endocrinology practice prior to her employment with Anthem. Diane has been employed by Anthem, Inc. since 2008.