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The Diet for Seniors - Maintain your Good Health

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/2/2006 | Health

Diet is the most important component for keeping you fit and healthy all through your life. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, kidney ailments and, above all, obesityall the diseases common to old age are attributed to the wrong food choices and habits over a long period of time.

In recent years, the word diet has come to be largely associated as the tool for shedding extra weight. In its original sense, it simply refers to all the foods, as a whole, that we eat.

A balanced and healthy diet is the key to health and vitality in all ages. When we are young, our system is able to digest everything that goes inside. Apparently, we feel no problems as a direct consequence of wrong and unhealthy food intake. An improper dietary practice over a long stretch of time, however, yields the same effects as slow poisoning would do to your health. These foods fill your body with garbage that is not easy to get rid of. As you grow older, starting from late forties and if youre lucky, from the mid fifties, you start to experience the symptoms of the presence of remnants of unhygienic foods that you have consumed over the years.

The wrong eating habits result in all kinds of disorders. It increases the cholesterol level in your blood. You get obese, and blood pressure can increase to an alarming point. The risk of heart disease is also enhanced. It is the wrong foods again that let loose the flow of free radicals inside the body and that become the breeding ground for several types of cancers. There is arthritis and other debilitating diseases that are aggravated by the wrong eating habit. For example; if you are habituated to consume huge amounts of red meat or calorie rich foods, the uric acid level of the body is bound to soar up and, as a result, you become a chronic patient of arthritis. A flawed food habit is also unable to supply necessary nutrients to your body and, as a result, your system fails to fight various infections and you become prone to various kinds of allergies as you grow older.

A healthy diet does just the opposite. That is, a healthy diet protects you from the invasion of the agents that cause various diseases. What is meant by healthy diet? Healthy diet means a balanced diet. A balanced diet includes variety of foods belonging to different food groups. A balanced diet alone is capable of supplying all kinds of nutrients required for the nourishment of the body. A balanced diet is particularly recommended for the seniors because, with old age, the abilities of the organs of the body naturally diminish. The right age-specific foods help the systems make up for these diminishing abilities.

A balanced diet consists of food groups such as grains, vegetables and fruits, dairy and poultry, animal protein and lastly, fat. The rule of the thumb is: If you imagine the old age diet as a pyramid, the whole grain food products like cereals, rice, pasta etc would provide the base of the pyramid; the mid tiers would be composed of huge amount of fresh fruits and vegetables; and on the top of the pyramid would be fats like oils or sweets.

The basic principle of the senior diet is: consumption plenty of fiber and restrict intake of red meats and other calorie rich foods that may add to cholesterol build up.

You can consult the food pyramid suggested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The pyramid consists of five major food groups and your daily diet should include the suggested number of servings from each group. The suggested intake will ensure that the person gets all the required calories, their nutritional needs are fulfilled and, as a result, you achieve overall health of your body and mind. A balanced diet not only keeps you healthy at present, it protects you from all the future illnesses as well.