“Being active and good nutrition are vitally important for maintaining the best possible quality of life in older age.”
It is important to balance the energy you use for physical activity with energy going into your body (as food and drink). This will help you maintain a healthy weight and will keep your body working well.
The National Health and Medical Research Council recommends twelve dietary guidelines for maximum vitality, energy and health in older people.*
1. Enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods.
Eat something from each of the 5 food groups every day:
- bread, cereals, rice, pasta, noodles
- vegetables, including legumes (beans and peas)
- dairy, milk, yoghurt, cheese
- meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts
2. Keep active to maintain muscle strength and a healthy body weight
Increase all activities and decrease sitting for long periods.
3. Eat at least three meals every day
Regular meals make it more likely that you will get variety and amount of food you need.
4. Care for your food: prepare and store it correctly
Prepare and store food correctly, clean your fridge weekly and throw out anything that has been there too long.
5. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit
Eat at least two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. A serve is equal to one handful.
6. Eat plenty of cereals, breads and pasta
7. Include foods that are high in calcium
Having plenty of calcium will slow bone loss as you age and help prevent osteoporosis.
8. Eat a diet low in saturated fat
This will help to control your cholesterol.
9. Choose food low in salt and use slat sparingly
This will help to control your blood pressure.
10. Use added sugars in moderation
Sugars found in many natural foods such as milk and fruit are good for you. But some foods such as soft drinks, cordial, lollies, honey and jam are almost entirely sugar.
11. Drink adequate amounts of water and/or other fluids
If your urine is dark yellow (except first thing in the morning) you are not drinking enough. Water, soup, tea, coffee, juice, custard, milk. jelly and ice cream are all fluids.
12. If you drink alcohol, limit your intake
In moderation, alcohol can be a pleasure and can enhance a meal. Small amounts (no more than 2 standard drinks per day) can be beneficial, but too much will damage your health.
Taken from Australian Government and Sports Medicine Australia initiative “Choose Health: Be Active:”.
*For more information on the guidelines and a complete description of the 12 groups visit www.health.gov.au