A nutritious diet is important at any age, but becomes even more essential later in life. Not only does it keep the mind and body healthier, but eating well can also help prevent serious conditions like heart problems, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. Here are some nutrition and diet tips to keep you and your loved one feeling young and healthy:

Fresh is best

In general, the more processing a food goes through, the less healthy it is. Choose foods that are as fresh and unprocessed as possible. Tip: the more ingredients a product has, the more likely that it is highly processed.

Go fish

Eat more fish, such as tuna and salmon, which are high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Avoid trans fatty acids, found in partially hydrogenated oils, as they raise LDL, or “bad” cholesterol levels and lower HDL, or “good” cholesterol.

Drink up

Staying hydrated is crucial to keeping the body running smoothly, and many seniors are at risk of dehydration. The amount of water that everyone needs varies due to many factors like weight, medication, weather and activity level, but generally, six to eight glasses of water per day is recommended. Drinks with caffeine and soft drinks with salt, sugar or artificial sweeteners should not be used as substitutes.

Don’t be so refined

Whole grains are much more healthy than refined grains, which are highly processed. Whole grains still have the outer covering which contains the grain’s fiber and many of its vitamins and minerals. They are also low in fat and often a good source of protein.

Go with pepper

There is a direct link between salt intake and blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. About one teaspoonful, or 6 grams, a day is recommended. Read labels carefully and use pepper and other herbs and spices for flavor.

Eat your fruits & veggies

Research is proving mom right. Fresh fruits and vegetables are rich in essential vitamins and minerals, fiber and carbohydrates. Plus, research shows direct links between certain foods and disease prevention. Blueberries, for example, are high in antioxidants that protect you from free radicals, which damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, has been shown to lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Trim down

Even losing a few pounds can lower your risk for major disease. Ask a physician about your ideal body weight and keep as close as possible to it. If you or your loved one are very overweight, more extensive measures may need to be taken.

Home Care Angels provides assistance with daily activities, such as dressing, eating and personal care, from home service aides. Please call 847.824.5221 to speak with one of our Client Care Coordinators if you would like more information on in-home care.