Food for Thought: The Role of Nutrition in Healthy Aging

Food for Thought: The Role of Nutrition in Healthy Aging

The way we eat throughout our lives impacts the way we age. Science has proven that a well-balanced and varied diet full of nutritious foods like fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins; and limited in sugar, salt, saturated or solid fats, and alcoholic beverages; is critical to good health. This means we all have the power to maximize and improve our health, add vitality to our years, reduce the risk of disease, and increase our healthspans—the number of years we live in good health. And research shows that it’s never too late to make improvements.

Without proper nutrition our bodies can’t stay healthy, fight off disease, or deal with illnesses that we already have. Poor nutrition weakens our immune systems and leaves us vulnerable to infections, and slower recovery and wound healing. It also causes unhealthy weight changes and muscle loss that can lead to frailty, falls, broken bones, disability, loss of independence, and disease complications. It can also lead to nutrition-related diseases and conditions.

The latest Dietary Guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, address nutrition at various life stages and provide important recommendations on achieving a well-rounded diet. The guidelines emphasize that the foods and beverages we consume have a profound impact on our health—now and in the years to come—but MOST Americans don’t follow a healthy dietary pattern. They also highlight the fact that our nutrition decisions add up “bite by bite” and are important at every age.

Also available in Spanish at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGZmwN0kEqU and with closed captioning at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFYXd7Q0aUU.

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