March is National Nutrition Month and there’s no better way to observe this month’s theme than to pause, take stock of your eating habits and make the moves necessary to optimize your health through diet.
Barbara Jean “BJ” Daniel is making progress in meeting her dietary needs. She’s a resident in the Park Gables neighborhood here at VMRC. At present, she works with VMRC’s team of chefs to ensure her meals meet her dietary requirements as prescribed by her physician.
BJ has recommendations for those who live in or plan to join a retirement community.
“Know your own specific dietary needs, speak up and ask questions about food options,” BJ advises. “Work with staff to meet those needs and keep your family physician informed. Everyone is different and valued,” BJ adds.
While diet is important at every stage of life, the more birthdays a person has, the more their dietary needs change. The good news is that older adults do a good job of meeting their dietary needs—better than most other age groups, in fact. However, there are key areas that require special attention.
Pay Attention to Fluids
Did you know that the sense of thirst diminishes with age? This means older individuals need to mindfully take in water. Beverages low in sugar and sodium are optimal for hydration.
Muscle mass loss is also a factor in older adults. To avoid this loss, eating MORE protein is in order. Research indicates that older adults require more protein than younger adults. If an older adult experiences one or more chronic illnesses, increasing protein is especially important.
Hypertension, heart disease and diabetes are among the top chronic conditions experienced in adults 65 and older. These conditions are also influenced by diet. To ensure good health throughout retirement it’s a good idea to get to know your Superfoods!
What are Superfoods?
At a recent meal prep demonstration and nutrition education event, members of VMRC’s Wellness Center, Dining Services staff, and Farm at Willow Run gathered to share information our residents and visitors needed. Superfoods were among the topics covered. Kaitlyn Good, a nutrition major at James Madison University, shared the three characteristics of superfoods:
- Nutrient Dense
- Low Calorie
In addition, these types of foods support immunity, heart health, healthy cholesterol levels, reduced inflammation and cancer prevention.
Her favorite superfoods include:
- Leafy greens
- Olive Oil
What can you make with ingredients like these? Executive Chef Jeremiah Moyer and Sous Chef Brian Bogan created and shared a superfood salad sure to energize your day. Watch their video demonstration (below) and make this super dish for yourself and others!
Make it a goal to find more dishes that include superfoods. Build upon your healthy eating habits and incorporate your newfound food favorites into your meals this month and beyond.