As people advance in life, they may start to think keeping a healthy diet isn't as important as when they were younger.
Sometimes it's hard to find affordable food options. Other times, people can get too busy enjoying the fruits of their labors
or spending time with their families to notice poor eating habits. And sometimes, older people just don’t feel hungry. Eating
well, however, is just as important for older adults as it is for children—getting in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables,
protein and grains can help increase mental acuteness, fight disease and boost natural energy levels.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be about dieting and sacrifice, though. The key is in finding the right balance of foods to
get the benefits of every food group. For example, in the USDA guidelines for healthy eating, people over the age of 50 should
eat around 1 ½-2 ½ cups of fruit, 2-3 ½ cups of vegetables, 5-10 ounces of grains (a slice of bread roughly equals one ounce),
5-7 ounces of protein, 3 cups low-fat dairy and only 5-8 teaspoons of oils (found in oil used during cooking, olives, nuts or
avocados) a day. One of the best tips to follow is to stay away from "empty" calories. These are foods and drinks packed with
calories, but lacking any real nutrients. Chips, cookies, soda and alcohol are all empty calorie foods.
While eating nutrient-rich food is a great habit to have, fulfilling other health needs can complement any healthy diet while
providing unique benefits. Water, for example, is something people rarely get enough of, especially in old age. Drinking plenty
of liquids like water, juice, milk and soup, even when not feeling thirsty, will help to stay hydrated. Remembering to take in
more fiber can also be a huge plus. Fiber can help many digestive and intestinal problems like constipation when taken regularly,
and may also help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Finally, it's important to limit certain types of food when taking
some forms of medication. Some foods are high in potassium, which can have negative effects when combined with medications like
lisinopril, a drug commonly used for heart problems. Checking prescription labels or talking to a doctor can help prevent
food-related issues down the line, and potentially prevent a trip to the hospital. With the right amount of discretion and a
little bit of planning, it's possible to have a healthy, safe, complete diet and lifestyle well after 50.
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