7 Diet Tips to Help Keep Seniors Healthy
As you age, the food you put into your body starts to affect you in ways it never did before. Gone are the days when you could eat or drink whatever you wanted, with little consequence. It is now more crucial than ever to maintain a healthy diet the older you get.
Preventive health care is important – it can help prevent disease and disability, and can save you from spending a lot of time and money at the doctor. A big part of preventive care is learning what foods and nutrients your body needs.
Healthy diet tips for seniors
1.Get to know the different food groups.
This might send you down Memory Lane to your elementary school days, but familiarizing yourself with the different types of food groups can help you make better decisions when it comes to your diet. Choosemyplate.gov has a great list of foods that fall under each food group – fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein.
2. Start a daily diet.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines make the following daily serving suggestions for people who are 50 years of age or older:
- Fruits – 1.5 to 2.5 cups
- Vegetables – 2 to 3.5 cups
- Grains – 5 to 10 ounces
- Protein foods – 5 to 7 ounces
- Dairy foods – 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
- Oils – 5 to 8 teaspoons
3. Drink lots of fluids.
A lack of thirst tends to accompany age. You may feel as though you don’t need to drink many liquids, but that’s not true – you need to drink plenty of water, milk or broth. Instead of waiting until you get thirsty, be proactive and keep a glass of water by your side whenever possible. Also be sure to sip water with each meal.
4. Include fiber in your diet.
Fiber is a plant-based nutrient that travels through our digestive systems, absorbing water and easing bowel movements. Adding more fiber to your diet can prevent stomach or intestinal problems, as well as help lower cholesterol and blood sugar.
The National Institute on Aging provides some great tips on what foods you can add to your diet that are rich in fiber:
- Cooked dry beans, peas and lentils
- Skins from fruits and vegetables
- Whole fruit juice
- Whole grain breads and cereals
Remember to drink plenty of fluids to help move the fiber through your system.
5. Know which foods NOT to eat.
Adults who are 65 or older are more susceptible to food poisoning. As you age, your immune system weakens, you have less stomach acid, and your kidneys are weaker, which makes it harder to keep bacteria at bay.
Here are some foods to avoid, if possible:
- Raw eggs
- Raw fish
- Unpasteurized milk or juice
- Raw meat
6. Read the Nutrition labels on all foods and beverages.
Make sure you are making smart food choices by knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body. The FDA regulates the nutrition labels you see on each item, so take a minute to read these labels before deciding what to consume. Make sure the “Sell by” date has not expired.
7. Ask your doctor.
No one knows better than your doctor what vitamins and nutrients you are lacking and which ones should be added to your diet. To ensure that you have a properly balanced diet, consult with your doctor first.
Preventive Health Care
In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, there are other things you can do to help with your preventive care. Medicare Part B pays for many preventive health care measures such as exams, shots, lab tests and screenings. These preventive services can help find health problems early and can assist in preventing serious illnesses.
Within 12 months of signing up for Medicare Part B, you are entitled to a Medicare preventive visit which includes a review of your overall health. This visit covers certain screenings, shots, height and weight measurements, vision test, and more.
After you’ve been a Part B beneficiary for more than 12 months, you are eligible for a yearly Medicare wellness exam, which repeats each year. During these visits, you can expect:
- A review of your medical and family history
- A review of current prescriptions
- Routine measurements which include height, weight and blood pressure
- Detection of any cognitive impairment
- Health advice
- An assessment of risk factors and treatment options
- A screening schedule
- Advanced care planning
If your doctor agrees to be paid directly by Medicare, you will not have to pay anything for these visits. However, you may have to pay coinsurance or your Part B deductible if your doctor performs additional tests or services during these visits, or if those additional tests or services aren’t covered under preventive benefits.
Preventive health care is not only good for your body and well-being, but it’s also good for your wallet. If you can prevent serious illness or injury as you age, you can save a lot of money on health care costs.
If you have any questions about preventive health care, please reach out to our licensed insurance agents. Contact a licensed agent today at 855-802-1206. We are available from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. (MT), Monday – Friday, or from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MT) on Saturday. To stay up to date on the latest Medicare news, be sure to check out our blog.