There is so much information on the Internet, in magazines and given to you by friends and family about ways to stay healthy. How do you know what to believe or which advice to follow? First and foremost, before you start any fitness regime or change your diet, it's always best to discuss it with your doctor to make sure you are either healthy enough to do so or that any nutritional changes you may be considering won't impact any medications you're taking.
Here are nine health and nutrition tips for older adults, and everyone for that matter, that are good choices, no matter where you are on your journey to better health and nutrition.
- Don't drink sugary beverages. Steer away from soda or from any sugar-laden beverage. Drink water, lots of it. Drink water before and with meals. Add lemon if you want to add flavor and the health benefits.
- Avoid refined sugars. Ingesting sugar can lead to your feeling hungry even when you're not. If you eat too much sugar your body could develop "leptin resistance" which is the signal from your brain that you are full and should stop eating.
- Make a move toward fresher ingredients and away from fast foods or processed foods. Become a label reader as a way to understand what your food is being made from and, ultimately, what you're putting in your body. Make sure you add fish to your diet. Fatty fish like salmon has omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that may help you stave off diseases such as dementia or depression. Fill your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables at every meal.
- Barring any allergies, you should be eating nuts. These may be high in fat but they are nutritious, full of protein and healthy for you. They have fiber, magnesium and vitamin E, among others. If you have high blood pressure you should choose unsalted or lower-salted nuts.
- Enjoy your morning cup of joe. Coffee sometimes get a bad rap but it is actually healthy. It's full of antioxidants and some studies show that those who drink coffee live longer, have a reduced risk of Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes. Don't load your healthy coffee up with sugars and creams though as that may negate some of the healthful benefits.
- Sleep is important. The need for quality sleep cannot be over stated. A good night's sleep could be as important to your overall health and wellbeing as your diet and exercise. If you're not sleeping, talk with your doctor to see if there is an underlying health reason. Make your bedroom conducive to sleep by lowering the temperature and turning off all electronic devices.
- Get up and move! Dance. Take a walk. Clean the house! Any kind of aerobic or cardio is the best thing you can do for both your physical and your mental health. Moving will also help you keep your balance as you age and that is important to prevent any slip or fall accidents. If you want to rev up your walking routine, use walking poles because these engage the upper body and give you a full body workout.
- Avoid cigarettes and alcohol. If you're a smoker, ask your doctor for advice on quitting. Even if you've been a lifelong smoker, stopping now can help enhance the rest of your life. Alcohol can be consumed in moderation. Keep in mind though that even though alcohol is a depressant it will negatively impact your sleep if you drink before bedtime.
- Watch your salt intake. If you use too much salt, your kidneys could have a hard time keeping up with the excess sodium and this means your heart will have to work harder and your blood pressure can dramatically increase. High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart disease, in fact, high blood pressure is the cause of two-thirds of strokes and more than half of all heart disease issues.
Talk with your family and find ways to be healthier and get fit and get healthy for life!