Here are my top ten health tips for seniors.
1. Drink water or tea to stay hydrated, even when not thirsty. Thirst cues are weaker in older people.
2. Incorporate antioxidant-rich foods such as red beans, berries, prunes and apples into the diet to fight against diseases and cancer.
3. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids can improve memory and boost mood. Try adding foods like wild salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, seaweeds, and walnuts to meals.
4. Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals that are important for health. Plant foods are also a great source of dietary fiber which helps to prevent constipation-a common problem among older adults. Those with oral difficulties may puree or juice plant foods to reap their nutritional benefits.
5. Since older adults lose their taste buds, they tend to over flavor their dishes. It’s a good idea to substitute high sodium flavor enhancers like salt, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chicken powder with alternatives like herbs, spices, garlic, ginger, onions, shallots, citrus juices, wine, flavored vinegars or even low sodium miso paste.
6. Not all cooking oils are created equal. Choose extra virgin olive oil (salads/bread/not for cooking), light olive oil, or canola oil. Use sparingly.
7. Limit processed foods such as crackers, cookies, chips, etc. which are usually high in sugar, fat, salt and other food additives.
8. Choose healthy protein rich foods which include soy and soy products (tofu, edamame, etc.), beans, peas, nuts, eggs, seafood, lean meats and poultry.
9. Choose whole grains such as bread made with 100% whole wheat flour, brown rice, whole wheat noodles over white bread, white rice and enriched noodles or pasta.
10. Increase physical activity. Walk, stretch, or dance.
As featured on the Feeding Hong Kong July Newsletter