The Importance of Good Nutrition
Why it's important
Most people know good nutrition and physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight. But the benefits of good nutrition go beyond weight. Good nutrition can help:
- Reduce the risk of some diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and osteoporosis
- Reduce high blood pressure
- Lower high cholesterol
- Improve your well-being
- Improve your ability to fight off illness
- Improve your ability to recover from illness or injury
- Increase your energy level
What is good nutrition?
Good nutrition means your body gets all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to work its best. Plan your meals and snacks to include nutrient-dense foods that are also low in calories.
Tips for eating well
Eat plenty of fruit
To get the benefit of the natural fiber in fruits, you should eat fruit whole rather than as juices.
Eat plenty of vegetables
Eat a variety of colors and types of vegetables every day.
Eat plenty of whole grains
At least half of the cereals, breads, crackers, and pastas you eat should be made from whole grains.
Choose low fat or fat free milk
These provide calcium and vitamin D to help keep your bones strong.
Choose lean meats
Lean cuts of meat and poultry have less fat and fewer calories but are still good sources of protein.
Try other sources of protein
Try replacing meats and poultry with fish, beans, or tofu.
How to fix 5 common eating problems
As you age, you may lose interest in eating and cooking. Small changes can help you overcome some of the challenges to eating well.
1. Food no longer tastes good.
Try new recipes or adding different herbs and spices. Some medicines can affect your appetite or sense of taste - talk to your doctor.
2. Chewing difficulty.
Try softer foods like cooked vegetables, beans, eggs, applesauce, and canned fruit. Talk to your doctor or dentist if there is a problem with your teeth or gums.
3. Poor digestion.
Talk to your doctor or registered dietician to figure out which foods to avoid while still maintaining a balanced diet.
4. Eating alone.
Try dining out with family, friends, or neighbors. See if your local senior center hosts group meals.
5. Difficulty shopping or cooking.
Check with your local senior center for programs that can help you with shopping or preparing meals.
Learn more about good nutrition from our Health Library:
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