Baby Boomers: Eat Your Way to Health – Healthy Living Association

Baby Boomers: Eat Your Way to Health

Baby Boomers: That generation now reaching age 70 and above are a generation that seek many things, but one above most of the others. Good health. Right now, there are about 76 million Americans in that age group.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that close to 20 percent of our population will be above 65 by 2020. By that time, the fastest growing segment of the population will be those over 100 years of age!

As is well known by those who are in the Baby Boomer generation, aging brings with it a number of health issues. Some of these issues are chronic in nature and can become debilitating.

Medications to treat these conditions are costly. And they all have side effects that sometimes require more medications to treat.

Health Challenges for Baby Boomers

The rise in chronic health conditions among the aging population known as Baby Boomers has become a serious concern for physicians who deal with this population. Many of them have been caused by lifestyle choices over a number of years. In the same way, healthy lifestyle choices can prevent or help control at least some of these conditions.

Obesity is the root cause of many of these conditions. Fortunately, learning to eat healthy and exercise can also prevent them.

Cardiovascular Disease

This is the main cause of death of people, both male and female, over the age of 60. This makes it one of the major health concerns of Baby Boomers. Coronary heart disease is the most frequently encountered of these conditions. It narrows your arteries and can even prevent blood from flowing through them. If you use tobacco products, stopping them will help with this condition. Also, eating healthy, exercising, and controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol will help.

Cancer

The second leading cause of death among Baby Boomers. Cancer may be an inherited condition, according to some researchers. The best way to deal with the possibility of developing cancer is to be screened for cancers. Detecting them early gives you the best chance of successful treatment.

Type 2 Diabetes

This health condition typically is brought on by poor food choices over a period of time. Diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, loss of vision, kidney damage, and high blood pressure. Good choices in lifestyle, including good food choices, can help control diabetes and may prevent it if you haven’t developed it yet.

Arthritis

As you age, arthritis and joint replacement become more frequent. There are a large number of treatment options. Among them are medications, natural treatments, and joint replacement.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy

One of the best ways to live healthy as a Baby Boomer is to learn to eat healthy. And it is just that: learning to eat healthy. Most of us grow up with the Standard American Diet of processed and preserved foods, too much salt and sugar, along with a sedentary lifestyle.

It’s no wonder we suffer from multiple chronic health conditions as we age. A much better diet is one low in certain kinds of fat, the right amount of good protein, more vegetables and fruit, along with some grains. Plus, exercise.

But getting good nutrition and making better food choices can be a complex and frustrating undertaking. On a very regular basis, news comes out that certain foods which were once terrible to have in your diet are now necessities. And those that all the nutrition experts were saying must be in your diet now should be avoided.

What should you believe?

There are a couple of things you should keep in mind. First, it takes some research to find out what is really nutritious and what is not. Many people think the healthy foods just won’t taste good. The truth is, healthy foods do taste good; sometimes, the difference in taste is a matter of preference. And preference is something you choose.

The second thing to keep in mind is, healthy eating is not just about food. It’s also about how your body uses food to build cells and repair damage in your body.

A part of this also pertains to portion size as well as what foods to eat. As you age, your requirement for calories decreases unless you stay physically active. Therefore, your portion size should also decrease.

In addition, your food choices should be those that will help you maintain appropriate blood sugar levels. They also should be made with concern for your cardiac health.

One of the major issues of Baby Boomers is they are the first generation raised with access to fast foods, over-processed foods, high carbohydrate intake, and little physical exercise. These factors have led to diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Read Nutrition Labels

Every food product is required to have the contents and nutrition values listed on packaging. It’s no longer an option to read them. Can this information be difficult to understand? Yes. Here are some of the things you need to know from product labeling.

Serving Size and Servings Per Container. The size of servings is a standard measure like cups or pieces. This makes it easier for you to compare one food choice with another. Size will also help you understand the calories in the product and the nutrients it contains.

The number of servings per container is important so you can monitor yourself regarding the amount you eat. By eating more servings, you consume more calories.

Nutrients. This part of the label shows you what nutrients you want to increase and which ones you want to decrease. To be more healthy, you want to limit total fat (saturated fats and trans fats), sodium/salt, and cholesterol. You want to increase iron, calcium, dietary fiber, and vitamins A and C.

Calories and Calories from Fat. Calories show you how much energy you get from the food. Use the nutrition label to help you monitor your calorie intake. Most Americans eat way more calories than they need.

Calories from fat shows you just that: how many of the calories you eat will come from fat. If the label shows you a high percentage of the calories come from fat, you should reconsider your choice.

Dietary Tips

There are a number of things to keep in mind regarding good nutrition and health eating as you age. Here are some of them.

Weight Gain. As you age, it’s easier to put on weight. You don’t need as many calories to maintain your weight due to a decrease in your resting metabolic rate. Foods like fruits and vegetables will give you maximum nutrition with minimum caloric intake.

Bone Loss. The older you get the more bone loss becomes a potential issue. Be sure to eat foods that will help you keep your bone density. These foods include milk, cheese, and yogurt. If you are lactose intolerant, you can choose broccoli, collard greens, kefir, salmon, and sardines with bones. There are some foods that have been fortified with calcium, like almond milk.

It’s not enough just to increase your calcium intake, however. You also must absorb the calcium in order for it to be beneficial. Vitamin D is the vitamin that aids in absorption of calcium. This can come from exposure to the sun or from vitamin D supplements, as long as the supplements are good ones. Fatty fish such as tuna is also a good source of vitamin D.

Caloric Restriction. Keeping your calorie intake low is good not just for weight control. There is quite a bit of research evidence that shows it also will help prevent the development of cancer. Fat cells have been shown to produce estrogen, which stimulates cell growth, including cancer cells. Increased body fat has also been shown to promote inflammation and insulin resistance.

Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids. If you want to decrease your stress and the inflammation that is often the basis for many of the chronic illnesses you experience as you age, eating more foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids will help you. Currently, most Americans eat up to 20 times more Omega-6 fatty acids than Omega-3s. This ratio should be closer to four to one to remain healthy. Fatty fish such as lake trout, herring, sardines, and salmon are high in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), both of which are good Omega-3 fatty acids.

Antioxidants from Natural Sources. It’s important for you to get as many antioxidants from natural sources as possible. These substances help prevent the destruction of cells by free radicals that speeds the aging process. Fruits and vegetables are the key food products here. There are supplements that contain antioxidants, as well, but the research on those products is not as positive as needed for good results. Some of these supplements may actually increase your risk of mortality.

Conclusion

Healthy eating is important for everyone, but possibly moreso for Baby Boomers. Good nutrition from good food choices allows aging to be a more pleasant experience. Limiting the chronic health conditions that often come with aging can be accomplished through good food choices. Boomers can live more healthy lives with these good food choices.

 

References

Nutrition – eating healthy to get healthy  http://bestboomer.com/nutrition/

Healthy Eating for Baby Boomers   https://www.cre8tivecompass.com/healthy-eating-baby-boomers-national-nutrition-month/

The Promise of Brain Fitness http://www.fitbrains.com/blog/tag/baby-boomers/

Healthy Aging Tips for Baby Boomers  http://blog.supplementalhealthcare.com/patient-care-forum/healthy-aging-tips-for-baby-boomers

Boomer Nutrition: Preventive Medicine http://www.todaysgeriatricmedicine.com/archive/spring2011_p16.shtml

Dietary Tips for Baby Boomers: Ageless Advice for an Aging Generation  http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/tdmarch2008pg39.shtml#

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