For many, the phrase, old age conjures up the image of a vulnerable man bound in a wheelchair, dependent on others for every aspect of living and who has lost the mental ability to put two and two together.
Contrast that image with this image: a man approaching his 80th birthday, with a slim and toned body, who walks three miles twice daily, takes care of his own garden, is an active member of the Church of his locality, pays a visit annually to his son who lives on the opposite coast and has a cheery personality and is loved by all.
This is not an imaginary description. This is the description of my own father-in-law who seems to be lot more fit and active than we, in our mid thirties.
If you ask the man, he will at once let you know the secret of his well being: a healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on proper diet and daily exercise.
Then, there is the most important person in my life---my mother. She is an example of the concept aging gracefully. She, too, has always placed great emphasis on eating the right foods and the right amounts. This practice not only helps you live longer but, more importantly, it helps you live a life that is full of health and happiness. You cannot find or buy happiness when your health starts to deteriorate.
A number of health conditions that are common with aging such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes are the direct consequence of bad dietary practices. Most of these old age diseases can be prevented or at least kept to a minimum by eating right.
What is meant by eating right? Eating right means consuming healthy foods in proper quantity. A healthy diet is inevitably a balanced diet too. A balanced diet is one that supplies the nutrients to your body that your system needs to carry out its normal functions.
Are you approaching your middle age? Are you getting signals from inside that your body is gradually turning old? Then, it is the high time that you seriously consider incorporating certain lifestyle changes! These changes, in a positive direction, begin with healthy dietary practices. Even if you have been surviving on fast foods all these years, it is never too late to switch to a healthy diet. How can you accomplish this? Here are some practical tips:
l Variety in foods is key to health and vitality. Since each food is rich in specific nutrients that help our body naturally fight against disorders, consumption of a variety of foods can help your system to work smoothly and properly.
l Pick from the fresh green and colored vegetables like spinach, carrots, and types of legumes etc.
l Consume all kinds of fruits, including colorful melons, berries, or citrus fruits like oranges or grapefruits.
l When you are consuming animal proteins, be careful of their calorie content and the amount you are eating. Include in your diet poultry products like chicken and eggs, meat and fish. Leave the skin of the chicken and have only lean meat.
l In general, cut the consumption of red meet and beef. Increase the consumption of several kinds of dried beans like kidney, or black beans to ensure an adequate supply of protein in your body. Don't choose "super" or other over-sized portions.
l When you are consuming dairy products, check the label for low fat or the fat-free variety.
l At this stage of your life, stay as far away as possible from the refined foods. Instead, consume large amounts of fiber rich, whole grain products.
l To check the cholesterol level, limit the intake of calorie rich foods or foods containing saturated fats.
l Use a variety of vegetable oils that contain unsaturated fats for cooking.
One last piece of advice - diet alone cannot give you perfect health. You have to complement a healthy diet with suitable exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle, side by side with eating right foods.