As we get older, it turns out that the fabled Fountain of Youth isn’t so much a fountain as it is a cornucopia. Making a few simple changes to your daily diet can help you to age well, live longer, and fight a number of common health conditions that affect America’s senior population, particularly those in assisted living facilities.
Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
Eating right can help to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of developing heart disease. Portion control is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy diet. Restricting your food intake has been shown not only to help lower body weight but also to reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels. In addition to limiting your overall calorie intake, you can work to prevent cardiovascular disease by including plenty of fish and healthy oils, vegetables and fruits, and potassium in your diet. Believe it or not, a glass or two of wine each night can also help to improve your circulatory health, although this may also cause problems with other areas of your general health, so it is best to drink in moderation.
Prevent Type II Diabetes
Type II diabetes is a chronic condition that affects your body’s ability to process blood sugar and is a leading cause of blindness and end-stage renal disease among Americans. Certain people may be more prone to developing type II diabetes than others, including overweight individuals, adults over 45, and those with a family history of diabetes. If you are at risk for developing type II diabetes, the right diet can help you to delay the development of symptoms and complications. Lower fat intake and more dietary fiber have been shown to help prevent the onset of the disease. Diets rich in whole grains and cereal fibers are also typically associated with a lower risk of type II diabetes.
Delay the Onset of Alzheimer’s Disease
More than 5 million U.S. adults are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and one-third of all seniors die with some form of dementia. This makes it particularly prevalent amongst senior communities in assisted living facilities. As you age, your risk of developing dementia increases drastically. You can help to keep your mind sharp during your later years by eating a balanced, low-calorie diet. Including plenty of fish, seafood and dietary antioxidants from fruit and vegetables can help to lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia.
Strengthen Bones and Prevent Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis primarily affects older women, but one in three men over the age of 60 is also likely to suffer an osteoporotic fracture in his later years. Seniors are especially prone to hip fractures, which can have devastating health consequences. Including plenty of calcium in your diet can help to strengthen your skeleton and reduce bone loss. You can get calcium from most dairy products, including milk, yogurt, and even ice cream. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, but luckily, many dairy products come fortified with the vitamin.
Help to Prevent Cancer
More than half of all cancers are diagnosed within the over 65 population, making cancer a very real concern for many aging adults. Like many other common chronic health conditions, you can help to reduce your risk of cancer by following a healthy diet. Different vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables have been shown to help fight various forms of cancer. Studies also indicate that plenty of dietary fiber and a high intake of fish can reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer. By simply sticking to a lean and healthy diet, you can improve your overall well-being and live a longer, healthier life.