Foods for Health: Living Well, Living Longer Maintaining good health is one of the most important factors of sustaining a high quality of life. Whether you are in your 20s, 40s, 80s or beyond, research shows that individuals who eat a balanced diet, don’t smoke, and exercise regularly lead longer, healthier lives. Making improvements to your lifestyle at any age can help you reduce your risk of chronic disease and improve your overall health. So why wait? Start today to make a difference this year and for the rest of your years! Use these tips on healthy aging to live well and live longer. Healthy Aging How you choose to live your life can make a difference on how you age from the inside out. Aging can take a toll on many parts of our body including eyes, bones, muscles, heart and mind. Foods and beverages, rich in vitamins and minerals, fiber, whole grains and lean protein, and exercise are what the body needs to maintain good health. You can also promote health by including more functional foods in your diet. These are foods that can provide benefits beyond basic nutrition. Read on to learn more. Keeping an Eye on Health Bone Up Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that damages Bones provide support for your body’s many parts and the center of the eye, or the retina. This makes it hard to allow you to move from place to place. They also help see fine details, and limits a person’s ability to read, drive protect your brain, heart and other organs from injury. and perform many other tasks. The risk of macular Keeping bones healthy is important at every age, but it degeneration increases as one ages and this disorder is is common to lose bone mass as we get older. also the leading cause of blindness in the United States. Exercise and adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin Studies show that people who consume diets low in fruits D are vital for bone health, especially for women in their and vegetables are at a greater risk of developing later years. macular degeneration. There is strong evidence that Most of the calcium in your body is stored in the bones. shows that the antioxidants present in fruits and Your bones can lose calcium as you age, which can vegetables can promote healthy vision. Eating foods high make them weaker. You can increase your calcium in the phytonutrients (or plant nutrients) lutein (loo-teen) intake by eating at least three servings of low-fat dairy and zeaxanthin (zee-uh-zan-thin) can help to reduce the products such as skim and 1% milk, as well as low-fat effects of macular degeneration and cataracts, a clouding yogurt and cheese. Other good sources of calcium of the eye. Vitamins A, C and E are particularly helpful for include salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, beans, tofu, and aging eyes. All these nutrients can be found in brightly fortified foods like orange juice, bread and cereal. colored foods like dark leafy greens, broccoli, oranges, yogurt and cheese. red and green peppers, strawberries, egg yolk, corn, yellow fruits and vegetables as well as many multivitamin Vitamin D is needed for your body to absorb calcium. supplements. Do your eyes a favor and eat a rainbow of The best source of vitamin D is the sun, exposing your colorful fruits and veggies each day. And don’t just stop hands and face to direct sunlight for five to 30 minutes with what’s in season. Frozen and canned fruits and two times a week without sunscreen can help you meet vegetables can offer equal nutrition compared to fresh your vitamin D intake. sources. For more information visit us at www.foodinsight.org Vitamin D also is found in foods like egg starting up an exercise plan? Find a yolks and mushrooms as well as fortified buddy! Research shows that foods such as milk, cereal and orange participating in physical activity with juice. Magnesium and phosphorus are other people helps you stick with it and also important minerals that help maintain makes it more enjoyable. bone health. You can get these minerals from foods such as halibut, tuna, A Smart Heart artichokes, grains, nuts and dairy. Did you know that the heart is one of Start young! Eating foods rich in calcium the strongest muscles in your body? It and vitamin D from birth through works hard to keep blood pumping to all adulthood is one of the most important of your vital organs. Consuming a diet ways to reduce the loss of bone mass and low in saturated and trans fat, sodium osteoporosis as you age. But it’s never and cholesterol is one way to help too late to start. reduce your risk of developing heart disease. However, it is also important to Tips to Help You Keep Protein in Mind replace these foods with ones that can Live Well and Maintaining muscle is particularly promote heart health including fruits, Longer vegetables, whole grains, fiber, soy important as we grow older. Older adults protein, nuts and heart-healthy fats The tips below provide a lose muscle mass at a higher rate than found in fish, such as salmon, trout and starting point that can help you younger adults, and as a result, they may albacore tuna, and oils, such as canola, focus on key parts of the body be prone to falls and injuries. Eating olive and soybean. Learn more about that are important to healthy protein can help maintain muscle mass. these foods at: Foods for Health: Eating aging: Meat, pork, poultry, eggs, fish and dairy for Heart Health. products are good animal sources of Bones: String cheese is not protein. Choose lean cuts of meat like just for the young. Add calcium round, chuck, sirloin, tenderloin and Maintain Your Brain to your diet by snacking on a stick of string cheese when skinless poultry. You can also get protein Being “fit” is about both body and mind. hunger strikes. from plant sources like beans, soy and Unfortunately, memory loss is common peas. with aging. An increase of omega-3 fats Muscles: For a quick and easy in your diet can help promote a healthy snack, look for a nutrition bar Muscle Mechanics mind and improve memory function. with added soy protein or add Some studies have linked an increased a packet of soy or whey protein Exercise is one of the best ways to build consumption of omega-3 fats with a to your favorite smoothie. and maintain muscle mass. A moderate lower rate of decline in brain function. Eyes: Punch up your intake of exercise regimen can help to improve Good sources of omega-3s include the eye-popping nutrients strength, balance and flexibility, keeping salmon, tuna, herring and fortified lutein and zeaxanthin by muscles, bones and joints strong. margarine, juice, bread, pasta, eggs making a spinach salad with Exercise also is a vital component in and other foods. slices of oranges. Did you maintaining a healthy weight at any age, know that many multivitamin and it is especially important as the metabolism slows during the aging Focus on the Positive and mineral dietary supple- ments also include lutein? process. Take part in regular activities like Having a positive attitude can help you walking, strength training, swimming, make improvements to your health at Heart. Popcorn is a great dancing, tai chi and gardening. Just any age. Start making healthful source of whole grains. Keep a lifestyles changes today. few mini-bags in your desk drawer to heat up for a quick, The International Food Information Council Foundation low-calorie snack at the office. Also, try spicing up your Learn more about “Foods for Health: popcorn with garlic powder, Living Well, Living Longer” by watching cinnamon, rosemary, or our video with nutrition expert and author, parmesan cheese. David Grotto, RD. Mind: Salmon or tuna that is www.foodinsight.org canned in water or in a shelf- stable pouch can make easy For more information about healthy aging and affordable meals; add a visit: few tablespoons of olive oil, http://www.foodinsight.org/For- season with pepper and thyme Consumers/Healthy-Aging.aspx to enjoy on top of whole grain crackers or wrapped with International Food Information Council Foundation • 1100 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 430 • Washington, DC 20036 tomatoes in a lettuce leaf.