Dietary Guidelines to keep you Fighting Fit and Healthy as you Grow Older
Aging is a normal process not a disease. But many diseases are more prevalent in the later years of our life because of unhealthy eating practices, lack of exercise and increased stress. We can choose to have a better life in the later years by choosing to eat healthily and leading a fit lifestyle as well as devoting time to God who can help us to handle our stress in a constructive manner.
Aging cannot be prevented, but how healthy we are during aging can be influenced by what we do to our bodies. One of the most obvious and significant changes that occurs with aging is a slowing down of the metabolic rate or the speed at which the machinery of the body runs. This results in a lower requirement of calories, but ones nutrient need remains the same. For example you need less butter, oil, ghee, in your food but you still need your, minerals, vitamins and protein. In fact we have seen that certain changes in the capacity to absorb these nutrients as one ages makes it necessary to consciously eat more of these nutrient containing foods.
Some of the most common problems we face is obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol levels, constipation, acidity, etc. The most important dietary matter is to become very aware of the consumption of FATTY FOODS. Cutting down these foods and eating plenty of nutrient rich healthy foods is the secret. Controlling this, I find has the most significant impact on all the above mentioned conditions. I would advise you to make a list of these foods and stick it on the kitchen wall or on the refrigerator.
Cream of milk (remove completely or use commercial skimmed milk ),Butter, ghee,cheese, paneer , mayonnaise. Fried food – fried rice, noodles, biriyani, masala dosa , pickle, papad, chips, namkeen, vada, etc. All Nuts and coconut chutney. Bakery items like pastry, pies, puffs, cakes, cookies. Chocolate, ice-cream, mittai. Mutton, pork, beef, liver, brain, etc. Aerated drinks and alcohol.
If one is trying to lose weight, reduce blood sugar levels or bring down cholesterol or triglyceride levels, relieve constipation or acidity, one should not touch any of these items for a 3 month or 90 days period. After that to maintain a healthy life style continue to be very conscious of these foods and eat any one of them, only once a week.
Now for the regular diet. Elderly people need more protein. This can be obtained by drinking 2-3 cups of skimmed milk or curds daily. Half a cup dhal or sambar or pulses are a must for lunch and dinner. A piece of fish or chicken may be eaten at lunch. 1 or 2 egg whites daily with breakfast or in a sandwich at tea or in any meal, is another excellent source of protein.
Calcium is important and therefore milk or curds 2-3 glasses per day is a must for all elderly. Skimmed milk is not fattening.
Iron requirement is more as you age. A good supply of iron is got from eating balanced meals, therefore breakfast, lunch, and dinner must be eaten and never skipped. Those with an iron deficiency problem can change from a rice diet to a wheat diet which is seen to improve the iron levels remarkably. Dhals and pulses also improve iron levels so please try to eat them at lunch and dinner. Just half a cup is necessary but try to include it in both meals. Also adding a fresh salad to lunch and dinner increases the vitamin B and C which will help in higher iron absorption from the food.
Vitamin C, D, and B are required in higher amounts and this can be obtained by eating 2 fruits, one at 11 am and at 6pm daily. Choose apple, pear, guava, pomegranate, oranges, and musambi as they are safe even for diabetics and contain plenty of fiber. A raw salad must be eaten daily at lunch and dinner. Dhal and pulses are also a rich source of vitamins. Besides all this drinking 2-3liters of water and walking 20-30 minutes daily will keep you fighting fit.