Adopting an optimistic outlook, surrounding yourself with loved ones, and exercising regularly will all help you to age gracefully. Consuming a healthy diet is also vitally important and choosing healthy food over processed food will help to increase your energy levels and reduce your risk of obesity. Reducing your risk of obesity is very important because obesity predisposes you to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, depression, mental decline, disability, and sexual dysfunction amongst other diseases. Maintaining a healthy body weight is therefore extremely important, however quick weight loss schemes should be avoided at all costs. Diets that promise to deliver quick weight loss are dangerous to everyone; however they are especially dangerous to the elderly population.
Watch Your Calories – But Not Too Much!
Moderately restricting calories in attempt to lose weight is okay, however severe calorie restriction is ill advised in the elderly for three reasons. First of all, calorie restriction results in a reduction in bone mineral density and therefore increases the risk for developing osteoporosis. It also results in a loss of muscle mass, and strong muscles are vitally important for maintaining a high quality of life as we age. Finally, studies have found that calorie restriction for an extended period of time puts an unnecessary strain on your heart and it increases your overall risk for mortality.
Diets that omit certain food groups, such as the Atkins diet which omits carbohydrates and vegan diets which omit all animal products are also ill-advised. These diets can easily result in nutrient deficiencies and older people already have a higher risk for developing vitamin and mineral deficiency’s. Such deficiencies can not only lead to exhaustion they can also exacerbate chronic and acute diseases, contribute to the development of degenerative diseases, weaken the immune system, and delay the recovery of illnesses.
What You Will Need For a Healthy Diet.
So now that you know what not to do, let’s take a look at what you should be doing. Dieting in and of itself is problematic. It can lead to binge eating and more often than not, when the diet is over, you will regain all of the weight. If you want to lose weight the healthy way, you need to make permanent dietary modifications and slow and steady should be your motto. Your diet should be primarily comprised of healthy food, such as in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy protein such as fish, turkey, chicken, soy, nuts and seeds. Also, reduce your consumption of processed and packaged foods and avoid artificial sweeteners, because studies have found that they cause sugar cravings and that they can actually contribute to weight gain.
One great and healthy way to lose weight is to increase your fiber intake. Consuming fiber rich foods such as beans, legumes, oatmeal, brown rice and most vegetables, will help to fill you up and keep you full longer, and their appetite suppressing effect will help you to lose weight without feeling deprived. Also be sure to drink plenty of water, this will fill you up without contributing to your caloric intake. Green teas are also great for weight loss, they are very low in calories, and many people find them quite satisfying. Finally, try to eat only when you are hungry, and to consume 4 to 5 small meals per day, as opposed to one large meal.