Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging
Are your eating habits the key to aging without health issues? Numerous studies show the strong link between diet and health. We decided to address this important issue in the following article, in part to help you make smart choices to protect your well-being as you age.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”
This quote is attributed to Hippocrates, ancient Greek physician widely regarded as the first physician. In ancient Greece, people were already aware of the impact of diet on physical health and used the virtues of certain foods against illnesses and afflictions.
Nowadays, modern science allows us to concretely explore the effects of food on our body’s different structures. Many studies carried out all over the world show that nutrition ensures our body’s proper functioning and allows us to preserve adequate physical capacity, which is particularly relevant as we age. In addition, our diet has a direct effect on the prevention or, inversely, the development of certain serious illnesses.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada states on its website that “up to 80% of premature heart disease and stroke can be prevented through your life habits, such as eating a healthy diet.” Also, the Canadian Cancer Society published a 2019 report revealing that 12,500 of new cancer cases diagnosed each year in Canada are due to an unhealthy diet.
Even in the 5th century BC, Hippocrates understood that to stay healthy, we must keep an eye on our diet!
Eating healthy every day
The topic of healthy eating could be discussed at length in many, many articles. However, we wanted to share with you a few key elements inspired by the new Canada’s Food Guide. We encourage you to read the new Canada’s Food Guide for practical information on good eating habits.
- Include a wide variety of healthy foods in your daily diet;
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole-grain foods to get enough fibre;
- Eat enough protein daily. Favour lean proteins (chicken, fish) and plant-based protein foods (tofu, legumes, nuts, etc.);
- Avoid processed or highly processed foods that are high in sugar, sodium, and saturated and trans fats. They are also low in essential nutrients;
- Drink at least 2 litres of water every day instead of sugary drinks such as fruit juice and soft drinks;
- Read food labels to assess nutritional value and ingredient list. Choose foods that contain few ingredients and few additives.
Eat enough, even as you get older
This is an important issue related to diet and aging that should not be overlooked. Indeed, as we age, our appetite decreases considerably. In the long term, this can lead to nutritional deficiencies that can affect the physical condition and even autonomy of the elderly. Fortunately, a few simple tips can be put into practice to help stimulate the appetite:
- It is important to take meals at set times. The body then regulates the hunger signals it sends, increasing appetite at mealtime.
- Engage in physical activity on a regular basis (30 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week).
- By properly seasoning foods, you help to enhance their flavour and will develop a taste for eating them.
- Eat small meals and several snacks at different times of the day. This can be beneficial for people with less appetite. It is therefore important to have healthy snacks on hand that are easy to prepare and eat (vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, cheese, whole-grain products, etc.).
Share meals with family and friends, try new foods and dishes to vary your diet, and remember to give yourself a treat once in a while. These are our latest healthy eating tips, because it’s all about balance and enjoying food!