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Nutrition Vital to Healthy Aging

Posted 4/25/2008

Making the right food choices is important in any stage of life but it becomes even more necessary as we age. A new publication released by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension entitled Food Choices for Healthy Aging explores how to choose the right nutrition throughout the aging process. This research-based publication, located on the UNCE website, contains suggestions for living a healthier lifestyle and improving your overall wellbeing.

The publication discussed the dietary guidelines set forth for Americans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. These guidelines can help Americans lead a healthier life by consuming the right balance of the five food groups.

One of the key factors in nutrition is making sure you are eating the correct portions of various foods to balance your diet. Eating the "right amount" of food from each of the five food groups will help to improve health. The article explains the recommended daily number of servings from each food group, based on the average 2,000 calorie diet, and also explains how to easily judge the correct portion sizes. For example, it is recommended to consume two cups of fruit daily. The article shows that one cup of fruit is equal to one small apple or one large banana.

Another key principle is to choose foods in moderation. It is not necessary to completely remove a certain food from your diet as that can often lead to binging later. Sodium and sugar should be regulated by choosing products marked as "low sodium" or "less sugar." Other items that should be used only in moderation include alcohol, and foods high in fat and cholesterol. The publication explains easy ways to avoid these things and provides the daily recommended amount for each one.

Lastly, it is important to choose a variety of foods. Different foods provide different vitamins and nutrients. Providing your body with a variety of foods from each food group will help to supply you with various nutrients needed by your body.

The necessary amount of calories and recommended daily number of servings varies from person to person. It is important for you to research what your body needs to function and age properly. The UNCE article provides resources to help you figure out what your body needs.

For more information on choosing the right nutrition as you age, visit the UNCE website, click on the publications tab and search "healthy aging" under the title category. UNCE offers many research-based, free online publications on their website on a variety of topics including horticulture, health and nutrition, and community development.

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