Eating well is vital for everyone at all ages. Whatever your age, your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health and in how you look and feel.
It may be surprising, but foods can affect how your medicine works. That’s why it's always best to ask your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist if you should avoid any foods. For example, if you take medicine for high blood pressure, anxiety or insomnia, grapefruit juice may interact with your drugs. Don't miss out on the vitamin C and potassium that grapefruit holds. Instead, enjoy other citrus fruits like oranges etc.
· Raw Vegetables:
If you have sensitive, decayed or missing teeth, raw vegetables maybe high on your list of foods to avoid. But don't miss out on the vitamins and fiber. Instead, try cooking vegetables until they are softer. Or use pureed vegetables such as carrots, pumpkins and beets etc in soups or stews. You can also try canned vegetables. Just look for those with no added salt.
Some people avoid beans because of the gas and stomach pain they can cause. But if you've banned beans from your diet, you may want to reconsider. Beans are an excellent source of fiber, high in protein and iron and low in fat. The trick is to add beans to your diet slowly. Start by having a small serving a few times a week. Or try using a digestive enzyme that's sold over the counter to reduce gas.
You may have trouble digesting milk or dairy products as you age. But you may not have to give up all dairy products and the calcium and protein they provide. Many people can have small amounts of dairy with no stomach upset. And some dairy products are better tolerated than others. Non-fat plain yogurt and low-fat cheeses are especially nutritious choices. Or try lactose-free dairy products.
Although caffeine may not be a problem for everyone, it can make some people feel anxious or jittery. Caffeine can also increase your heart rate and cause sleeping problems. If you're trying to cut back, be sure to taper off slowly. Stopping caffeine too quickly may cause headaches, nausea, or vomiting. Slowly replace caffeinated drinks with water, herbal tea, or decaf.
Some of the healthiest cuts of meat, such as lean steak, can be the most difficult to chew. Look for lean ground beef with no more than 10% fat. Or for a healthier protein source that's easy to chew, try fish.
· High-Salt / High-Sodium Foods:
If you're over 40 or in a high-risk group, the CDC recommends you get no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day. Too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and put you at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. The main culprits are the processed foods such as frozen foods, snack foods and salad dressings etc. Read labels carefully and look for "sodium free", low-salt or no-salt alternatives.
· Cruciferous Vegetables:
Do you avoid cruciferous vegetables because of problems with gas? Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower etc are high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, calcium, iron, and folate. Some studies have shown they may also reduce your cancer risk. Don't avoid these vegetables. Just add them to meals gradually, in smaller servings. Drinking plenty of fluids may help too.
Fresh fruits contain an abundance of vitamins, fiber, and other important nutrients. But it maybe hard to eat your "apple a day" if you have trouble chewing. Instead, try canned fruits with no added sugar or syrup, or eat softer fruits such as berries, bananas, and melons etc. You can also blend your favorites into a fruit smoothie.