A well-rounded diet has many effects beyond the benefits we commonly associate with eating healthy. Most of us know that a balanced diet can help us keep our weight in check, but it can also help stabilize your mood and help lower your risk of dementia.
Risks of Unhealthy Eating
Many of us are aware that when we eat unhealthy foods—such as those high in fat, sodium, and sugar—it can cause us to gain weight, feel a sense of fatigue, or in some cases put us at risk for illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
What may be less known, however, is that when we age, our bodies are much more susceptible to disease. Often this is because we may have developed certain illnesses or may have a sensitive immune system due to medications.
Dangers of Under-Eating
Our bodies are continually transforming as we age, and our senior years are no exception. Many older adults begin to lose taste buds, and their sense of smell can lessen. Vision loss and improperly fitting dentures can also be factors adding to a senior’s lack of interest in eating.
In addition to these, there may be hidden or unforeseen health issues at work. Some diseases may lessen appetite, and some medications may also contribute to loss of hunger and desire to eat. In all these cases, it is crucial to make strides to resume a regular and consistent eating schedule.
Heart and Brain Health
Research suggests that your diet has a direct effect on how well your brain functions. Some of this is attributed to the way heart health, and brain health is related. A healthy heart and body allow all your systems to deliver blood and nutrients to your brain. And a diet filled with a diverse set of nutrients helps keep your body functioning.
Healthy eating can help lessen the risk of memory impairment. Studies have associated reduced risk of memory loss for people who eat diets similar to those by people living in the Mediterranean. These people often avoid red meats and dairy, and instead, put lean meats (such as chicken and seafood), whole grains, fruits and vegetables, oils and other healthy fats on the table.
For more information on eating healthy as you age, download our Healthy Eating Guide for Seniors and start maintaining your health well into your later years.