A recent study, by DSM and Groningen University, looked at why some populations age healthier than others. The researchers found evidence that a lack of nutrients can have long-term health effects. The results of the study support what we already know about the importance of a balanced diet throughout our lives.
It’s not always easy to ensure we’re getting proper nutrition, particularly as we age and need fewer calories and our bodies may absorb less nutrients. To help you stay healthy, try following these five rules:
- Get a check-up: Start by speaking to your doctor or dietician about your current nutrient profile to determine what nutrients your body may be lacking. The truth is, most of us aren’t making the nutritional grade.
- Create a plan: Once you have an idea of what your diet may be lacking, determine how you’ll reach the recommended intake. What nutrients to focus on? That depends on your current diet, but experts agree that many of us are lacking in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamins D and B12, magnesium, potassium and fiber.
- Focus on can, not can’t: We often focus on limiting foods – like saturated fat and refined carbohydrates, but a better approach is to fill your plate with foods that will help you meet your daily nutritional goal. Instead of restricting yourself, challenge yourself to make every bite packed with nutrients.
- Mind the (nutritional) gaps: Sometimes, we can’t – or don’t want to – eat the foods that pack the biggest nutritional punch. That’s where supplements come in. If you know you won’t eat fatty fish two times per week, consider an omega-3 supplement. For times when you won’t be eating 5-9 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, a multivitamin might helpful.
- Make food fun: Eating the same things over and over again can be boring but eating for your health doesn’t have to be a drag. Hit the farmer’s market and fill your basket with colourful fruits and vegetables – try something new each time. Search online for recipes featuring your fresh ingredients. Experimenting in the kitchen can help you stay excited about your new nutrient-packed meal plan.