Five Golden Rules to Healthy Eating for 50+
As you may already guess, healthy eating and starting an exercise routine are among the most common New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, we all know the challenge of maintaining our commitment. I consulted Amanda Li, a Registered Dietitian in Canada, as she shares the five golden rules of healthy eating that set you on the path to success:
1. Eat slowly
“It takes 20 minutes for our brains to register that we are full,” says Li, who goes on to explain, “If you eat fast, by the time the ‘full’ signal travels to the brain, you are already over-stuffed.”
2. Eat only until you are 80 percent full
Remember the last time you went to an all-you-can-eat buffet? I bet you felt unpleasantly stuffed! So, “if you eat until you are almost full, you no longer feel hungry and you will not pack on the extra calories,” says Li.
3. Eat foods that represent all the colors of the rainbow
According to Li, nature has packed beneficial, healthy compounds into bright-colored fruits and vegetables. For instance, blueberries help to keep the mind sharp, whereas ruby-hued tomatoes may contribute to preventing prostate cancer. “Eating from all the colors of the rainbow will ensure that you obtain all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals (anti-oxidants) that you need,” assures Li.
4. Eat mostly plant foods and everything else in moderation
“Animal products are a good source of protein and iron. However, they are high in saturated fats,” says Li. Unfortunately, a diet high in saturated fats is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Therefore, Li says, “plant foods such as lentils, chickpeas, nuts, and seeds are rich in protein and iron that our bodies can absorb.”
5. Limit processed foods
(i.e. any foods that can last more than two weeks without preservation): Boxed foods (macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, TV dinners, frozen pizzas, hot dogs, instant noodles, cookies, potato chips) are usually high in calories and have little nutritional value. Plus, they contain refined flour, additional sugar, and sodium and they are high in fat. Not to mention, many of these boxed foods have preservatives and artificial coloring. Li recommends minimizing these types of foods and when you do, “you are more likely eating fruits, vegetables, and whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat.”
It’s never too late to start exercising and to adopt these healthy eating habits. Studies by Dr. Richard S. Rivlin—as published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition—have shown that people in their 60s and older can still benefit greatly from positive eating habits.*
However, Rivlin makes a sound point: it’s important to seek professional help in devising a plan. Your plan must be suitable for your build, dietary restrictions, physical condition, and preferences, as Rivlin believes there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” diet.
How are you practising these five golden rules?
What small changes can you introduce to your eating habits?