Anti-Inflammatory diet

Fruit Stand Outside Taj Mahal_4461089531_oWhat you eat can affect your health in many ways. Now we are finding that our diet can fight against inflammation in the body. Inflammation can trigger chronic diseases such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers and even Alzheimer’s disease. Being overweight also promotes inflammation, so losing weight can significantly improve health and reduce the risk of chronic illness.

The Mediterranean Diet is probably the best example of a diet that can reduce inflammation. This diet includes plenty of whole fruits and vegetables; good sources of omega-3 fatty acids such as fish or flax seed and nuts. It also includes few refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta and white rice, and emphasizes whole grains such as brown rice, barley, oats and bulghur wheat as well as limited sugar, sweets and other processed foods.

Soy foods like tofu or edamame are great sources of protein that promote health. Yogurt and other probiotic foods provide additional benefits to an otherwise healthy diet. Foods high in antioxidants and phytochemicals (natural chemicals found in the plant foods) are also believed to help reduce inflammation. Green tea, red wine, dark chocolate (or natural cocoa) have high-quality antioxidants that may have beneficial benefits. Other tasty additions to a healthy diet that reduce inflammation include garlic, ginger, cinnamon and hot spicy seasonings.

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Nutritional Guidelines for Older Adults

Friends Having Lunch Together At A RestaurantHealthy adults ages 70 and over should follow different nutritional guidelines than other people. In general, seniors usually need less energy and therefore usually eat less.

Guidelines for older adults emphasizes at least eight, eight-ounce glasses of water each day. The emphasis on fluids is due to older adults’ reduced sense of thirst that can lead to drinking less fluid. This two-quart daily fluid intake can include juice, milk and non-caffeinated soft drinks and beverages, as well as water. However, alcohol and drinks containing caffeine can cause the body to lose fluids and become dehydrated. Dehydration can make kidney function and constipation worse.

Key dietary supplements calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B-12 are sometimes recommended because older adults eat less and do not absorb and process nutrients as efficiently as younger people.

Total calcium intake each day should be 1200-1400 milligrams, which is the equivalent of three servings of calcium-rich dairy products (such as milk, hard cheese or yogurt). Supplements, such as calcium citrate and calcium carbonate are available to make up the difference.

Daily vitamin D intake should be 600 international units (IUs), which is equivalent to three 8-ounce glasses of milk. Sunlight provides vitamin D, too, but many seniors often have limited exposure to it, thereby requiring a supplement if their milk intake is less than the three glasses.

Seniors do not easily absorb vitamin B-12. Fortified breakfast cereal can help as it contains vitamin B-12 in a form that the body will absorb. A total of 2.4 micrograms is recommended each day. Taking a multivitamin for seniors will ensure an adequate intake of both vitamin D and B-12.

Fiber comes from many sources, including whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Fiber is very important because it helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis (inflammation of small pockets lining the intestines). It is also associated with lower cholesterol levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer. A total of 20-30 grams of fiber is recommended each day for optimal health. Eating the recommended number of servings of foods that contain fiber will usually provide that intake. Look for the fiber content on the label when shopping. Read More…

Nutrition Facts Label

Nutrition can sometimes seem complicated. But the good news is that the Food and Drug Administration has a simple tool to help you know exactly what you’re eating.

It’s called the (pdf) Nutrition Facts Label. You will find it on all packaged foods and beverages. It serves as your guide for making choices that can affect your long-term health. This will give you the information you need to start using the Nutrition Facts Label today!