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5 Reasons to Adopt a Healthy Diet as a Senior

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Eating healthy most of the time can be one of the best things you can do for your body, especially as a senior. Perhaps you’re wondering what the advantages are of eating a balanced diet. Fueling your body with healthy foods has many physical and mental health benefits. So, here are five reasons to adopt a healthy diet as a senior.

1. Disease Prevention

As you age, you can become more susceptible to chronic diseases, including heart conditions, certain cancers, diabetes, obesity, and more.[1] Having an unhealthy diet can increase your risk of developing these conditions.

However, having a healthy diet can help prevent some of these health conditions. For example, consuming more nutritious foods can boost your immunity, assist your digestive system, help you maintain a healthy weight, and more.[2]

Preventing disease can also help you spend less money on healthcare services. This can be especially helpful if you have a Medicare Advantage plan where the out-of-pocket costs can be high, and Medigap underwriting can be challenging to pass.

2. Increase in Energy 

Growing older can also result in lower energy levels due to muscle and flexibility loss. This can cause you to use more energy for activities.[3]However, eating a balanced diet can help increase your energy levels.

Maintaining good energy levels can help you complete day-to-day activities more efficiently, including walking, bending down, lifting, and more. If you have more energy, you can hopefully engage in more physical exercise to maintain good health as well.

3. Cognitive health

Some people show signs of cognitive decline as they age and may even develop symptoms of dementia. Dementia is a term that refers to a general cognitive decline, including memory loss, changes in thinking and reasoning skills, and more. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s, which is a specific disease associated with a gradual decline of cognitive function over time.[4]

Although not proven as fact, some studies indicate that eating a healthy diet can help prevent health conditions associated with cognitive decline. More specifically, a Mediterranean diet can be one of the more effective ways to avoid certain diseases for some people.[5]

4. Mental Health

Mental health typically refers to your emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing, which affects how you navigate through life and relationships. So, if possible, you should do what you can to boost your mental health.

Eating healthy can be one way to do this. The non-for-profit organization Sutter Health reports that eating more processed and sugary foods can be a factor in anxiety and depression.[6]Fortunately, eating a more balanced diet can help combat this, like eating fruits and vegetables with foods that have omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Exposure to new foods/experiences

If anything, retirement may allow you to try new hobbies and explore you interests. In addition to all the physical and mental benefits, eating healthy can also be a great way to try new foods!

A more nutritious diet often includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and more.[7]This can be an excellent opportunity to try experiment with new recipes or visit restaurants you’ve never considered.

Final Thoughts

Although it can be challenging to eat healthily, it’s a good habit to pick up. Doing so can improve your overall health in many ways, both mentally and physically. If you’re a bit overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin, try starting with minor changes.

Maybe you can start with drinking more water or adding one extra vegetable to your diet each day. Do whatever is most sustainable for you, and go from there!