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Health & Disease Prevention, Nutrition

Healthy Aging: Healthy Diet

September is Healthy Aging Month and the time to get started on better health practices. As you age, you need fewer calories to maintain your weight, but the same amount of nutrients to stay healthy. So, making healthy choices and avoiding junk food is more important than ever.

1. Eat a variety of foods.

Eating various foods helps your body get the nutrients it needs. For a balanced diet, follow MyPlate.

2. Balance what you eat with physical activity.

Eating too much or exercising too little can lead to weight gain. Being overweight can increase your risk for many types of illnesses.

3. Eat less fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Fats are fattening-they have twice as many calories as other foods. And too many fats in your diet may increase your risk for heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

4. Eat plenty of grain products, vegetables and fruits.

These foods are low in calories and full of minerals, vitamins and fiber. Fiber is especially important. It helps prevent constipation and may protect against some cancers and lower cholesterol levels.

5. Limit high-sugar foods.

High-sugar foods like candy and soft drinks often take the place of healthy foods. Sugary foods do not contain any of the nutrients you need for good health and can lead to weight gain.

6. Choose a diet moderate in salt and sodium.

In some people, too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Since it may have this effect on you, it is best to limit your intake.

7. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

If you choose to drink, limit alcohol intake to one (for women) and two (for men) servings a day. A serving is equal to one of the following:

· 12 ounces of regular beer

· 5 ounces of wine

· 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits

Following a nutritious diet is one of the best things you can do for your health as you age. Eating well can help prevent many health problems as you age, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity. It may also keep these conditions from getting worse.

While some may associate being diagnosed with certain health problems as inevitable due to genetic predispositions, many physical diseases are actually not determined by genetics alone and can be combated with appropriate preventative measures. It is

important to remember these healthy dietary choices and habits can make a difference in your overall health.