Your body changes as you get older, but a balanced diet and good weight management will help you stay healthy.
Whatever your age, it’s important to eat a healthy, balanced diet, monitor your weight, know your blood pressure and understand potential health risks such as diabetes, arthritis and joint pain and sleep apnoea.
You should try to eat:
- plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least five portions of vegetables and two portions of fruit a day
- some bread, rice, potatoes, pasta – choose wholegrain if you can
- some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other sources of protein
- some milk and dairy foods
- just a small amount of foods and drinks that are high in sugar or fat
Also eating foods containing fibre could be good for your digestion, as constipation tends to be more of a nuisance as you get older, but fibre-rich foods or supplements can prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
Iron is important for our general health and a lack of iron can make us feel listless so including iron-rich foods can be beneficial.
The best source of iron is lean red meat and it is recommended older men over 50 should eat two-and-a-half serves and women over 50 two serves of protein a day (a serve equals 65g of cooked lean red meat).
Supplements are also available if iron levels are found to be low.
Calcium is essential for building and importantly maintaining bone. As we age our requirement for calcium increases as calcium from food is not absorbed as well. Extra serves of calcium-rich foods like low fat milk, yoghurt and cheese, or supplements can help to avoid osteoporosis.
Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, which puts you at risk of health problems such as heart disease and stroke, so try and reduce your intake. Also have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Vitamin D is important for bone health and to prevent osteoporosis.
The best source of vitamin D is safe sun exposure to UV sunlight. You only have to spend a short period of time in the sun each day.
Food alone can’t provide enough vitamin D however dietary sources include eggs and oily fish. Supplements are available as well.
As you grow older, if you are overweight, you will become less mobile.
This can increase the risk of joint pain, the pain of arthritis, sleep apnoea and increases your risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
If you are worried about your weight, have it checked and seek advice about changing what you eat to best meet your current needs.
Drink more water
Drink plenty of fluids every day to stop getting dehydrated. Aim to to drink six times a day and more during the warmer months.
Drinks that contain a lot of caffeine, strong tea and coffee, might make you produce more urine so make sure you also drink some water or other fluids that don’t contain caffeine.
- family member with diabetes?
- over 45 and have high blood pressure?
- over 45 and overweight?
- over 55?
- have heart disease or have had a heart attack or stroke?
- had high blood glucose levels during pregnancy?
- have had an elevated blood glucose test?
- have polycystic ovarian syndrome?
- over 35 and have an Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Island, Indian (subcontinent) or Chinese family background?
If you can tick one or more of these criteria you are at risk and should have a diabetes test-random blood glucose test or blood test with your doctor.
Terry White Chemmart Hamilton provides health programs and services that are personalised and measurable, and by supporting the best medication and health outcomes for customers.
For more information ring 4961 1269.