by:Jeff Yurek, BScPhm

This is no secret or magic bullet in having a healthy lifestyle. While genetics and the environment will play a role in our wellbeing, we can help avoid disease and poor health by implementing some simple steps. My best advice is to eat a variety of nutritious food, drink plenty of water, exercise, take your vitamins and ensure you get enough sleep. This article focuses on healthy eating.

As we age, a key part of staying well and strong is healthy eating; it plays an important role in helping us stay independent. In addition to enjoying great foods, healthy eating can provide energy and essential nutrients to maintain muscle and bone mass while preventing many diseases. With age, we may face challenges that affect our ability to eat healthy. We may experience a decreased sense of taste or smell or troubles digesting food. Moreover, lifestyle changes may mean living on a fixed income, eating alone or dealing with side effects of medication, which alters our eating habits.

To ensure we ingest enough nutrients to maintain good health, it is important to incorporate a variety of healthy food choices. Each day, try to consume some fruits and vegetables. Don’t eat the same vegetables every day; eating different colours will ensure you receive different nutrients. Whole grain foods and proteins are also needed each day.

Typical proteins consist of eggs, nuts, beans, meat or low fat dairy. Some prefer newer sources of protein such as soy or tofu. Adding in spices or herbs may help those whose sense of taste or smell has changed.

Those having difficulty digesting food or dealing with side effects from medication that affect their ability to eat healthy should speak to their pharmacist for some additional guidance. They can review all your medications and offer suggestions to improve your situation.

There are many resources in our community to help maintain healthy eating. Having discussions with a dietician, reviewing what programs are available at a local grocery store or just getting together with friends to share in good food will help maintain a healthy eating lifestyle.