During this time of year, the risk of colds, flus and injuries are at their highest for all of us, especially seniors. Seniors need to be aware of the dangers of illness and how to proactively avoid possible life-threatening conditions. One of the most important things we can do is provide our bodies with healthy foods to give us the necessary fuel to boost immunity and fight off unwanted germs.
3 Ways Seniors Can Eat Healthy During the Winter
1. Eat From All Food Groups.
- Group 1 – Fruits and Vegetables: incorporate lots of dark green, red, orange and yellow fruits and veggies into your diet. They are loaded with natural disease-fighting nutrients.
- Group 2 – Grains: focus on fiber since it helps with digestion. Be sure to increase fiber slowly and to increase fluids at the same time. If you have an intestinal disease, check with your doctor first before increasing your fiber.
- Group 3 – Milk and Milk Alternatives: Getting enough calcium is highly important for bone and muscle health and especially important in the prevention of osteoporosis. We also need vitamin D, which helps us fight off depression and the winter blues. Try eating more milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.
- Group 4 – Meat and Meat Alternatives: We need this group for protein, vitamins and minerals. Protein helps repair muscles and keeps us well nourished. Focus on eating more fish, poultry, lentils, chickpeas, nuts and seeds.
2. Drink Water. Water makes up most of our body and it is used in the transport of medications, for digestion, for circulation and for our joints and muscles. Water is also essential for our concentration and for our cognitive functioning. Limit sugary juices and caffeine as they actually promote dehydration. If you are not a fan of water, try adding in some lemon, cucumber or fruits -they will alter the flavor and add additional nutrients. Bottom line, the more water you drink, the more you will become accustomed to it and begin to crave it!
3. Have Someone Else Cook. There are many services available for seniors who struggle with either preparing healthy meals or just have a hard time getting to the store during the winter. Check your local resources and see what options are available where you live. In addition, there are many non-profit organizations, such as churches, that offer shut-in meal programs for individuals who need assistance. Don’t be afraid to check into these options and never be afraid to ask for help!