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Nutrition for Seniors
Old, but wiser, should also apply to your nutrition habits.
Eating a variety of foods from all food groups can help you get the nutrients your body needs as you age. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free milk or milk products; includes lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these
recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
  • Eat fruits and vegetables
  • Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans and peas
  • Eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day
  • Have three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy
  • Be selective with the fat you eat. Eat heart-healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, canola oil, nuts and seeds.
Get physical with your life
Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is your best recipe for health and fitness. Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day. You can break up your physical activity into 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

If you are currently inactive, start with a few minutes of activity, such as walking, and gradually increase this time as you become stronger. Check with your health-care provider before beginning a new physical activity program.

Make Calories Count
As an older man, you can’t eat the way you did when you were in your 20s and expect to keep the weight off. As you age, you are typically less active, losing muscle while you gain fat; these things combined cause metabolism to slow down. More work is needed to keep your metabolism up.
For men over the age of 50, your daily calorie needs are:
  • 2,000 to 2,200 if you’re not active
  • 2,200 to 2,400 if you’re moderately active
  • 2,400 to 2,800 if you’re active
Balance your calorie intake by getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Exercise helps older men rev up their metabolism, build and strengthen muscles and increase energy levels. And, as an added bonus, exercise also helps to lift your spirits.

See the Difference that a Diet Can Make
Healthy eating can keep your body and mind sharp and extend quality of life.
Older men need:
Calcium and Vitamin D
Older adults need more vitamin D (15µg/d) and calcium (1,200mg/d) to help maintain strong and healthy bones. Calcium-rich foods include low-fat and fat-free dairy like milk and yogurt, fortified cereals, dark green leafy vegetables and canned fish with soft bones. Older adults need three servings of calcium and vitamin D every day. If you take a calcium supplement or multivitamin, be sure to choose one that contains vitamin D.
Increasing potassium intake along with decreasing sodium (salt) may help maintain your blood pressure. Good sources of potassium include certain fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Choose low-sodium foods and replace salt with other herbs and spices to reduce your sodium intake.
Fibers with a high water binding capacity help keep bowel functions normal. Men older than 50 need 28 grams of fiber a day; good sources are whole grains, certain fruits and vegetables. For products with a label, choose those with at least 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving.
Unsaturated Fats
For weight control and overall health, limit fat calories to 20% to 35% of your diet. Most of the fats you consume should come from heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Try avocados, extra-virgin olive oil, canola oil, walnuts and almonds. Healthy older men without heart disease should limit your saturated fat, which comes from meat, full-fat dairy and fried foods, to 10% of your total fat calories. Men with high cholesterol need to cut more saturated fat from your diet; limit it to 7% of total fat calories.

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