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World Health Day – Can eating healthy make you live longer?

Taking care of your body is an essential part of anyone’s life — and that’s especially true for seniors. As our bodies age, we experience naturally occurring changes in things like metabolism and appetite, as well as effects to overall health. You may find it harder to lose weight the older you get, or simply come to the realization those same foods you enjoyed before now give you reflux or contain too much sodium for a senior’s recommended dietary intake.

But the positive side of all of this is that seniors can take their well-being into their own control; and there’s no better motivation to underline this than World Health Day. 
Celebrated every year on April 7 (which falls on the first Saturday of the month in 2018), World Health Day encourages people across the globe to take their well-being seriously and get motivated to lead healthier lifestyles. 

Maintaining a proactive approach to your health is an important part of living life as a senior, regardless of whether you’re at home or in a retirement community. Here are some wellness tips to get you started on a healthy senior diet in preparation for World Health Day.

Live life like you’re in a ‘blue zone’
Unsure of what a “blue zone” is? Not to worry, as you’re one of many. Blue Zones, as outlined by NPR, are spots around the world where researchers have examined high concentrations of centenarians (people 100 years and over), as well as a relative absence of conditions like obesity, cancer and heart disease. Many attribute strong social and family circles, entrenched healthy behaviors, good diets and self-care techniques like mindfulness as being key to the health of these regions. 

Seniors can take a cue from these blue zones and work toward longevity in their own lives. Dan Buettner, a National Geographic explorer who is releasing a book on blue zones, spoke to NPR and distilled some of the key principles persons in these areas abide by:

● Finishing meals when their stomachs are 80 percent full, so as to avoid weight gain.
● Eating the smallest meal of the day in the late afternoon or evening.
● Consuming a lot of plants and beans, as well as only eating meat rarely (those in blue zones eat meat portions of 3 to 4 ounces just five times a month, on average).
● Drinking alcohol moderately and regularly — about one to two glasses a day.

Try heart-healthy diets
Seniors often need to change up their diets to fit with where they are in life — and that often means warding off cardiovascular disease or managing conditions like diabetes with low-sodium and heart-healthy foods. Once again, seniors can look to the blue zones for inspiration. There’s a reason why Mediterranean and Japanese diets are popular: The top five blue zones assembled by Buettner included Ikaria, Greece; Sardina, Italy; and Okinawa, Japan. 

Want to sample a new cuisine that’s not only tasty but good for your health? Try following in the steps of the Greeks, Italians and Japanese with these recipes:

Mediterranean Greek Salad

3 cucumbers, seeded and sliced
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 cup black olives, pitted and sliced
3 cups diced roma tomatoes
1/3 cup diced oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained, oil reserved

Directions: All you need to do is prepare the vegetables and mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over it for added flavor.

Grilled Miso Salmon

1/4 cups white miso paste
3 Tbsp mirin
2 Tbsp sake
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp soy sauce
4 piece salmon fillets

Directions: Mix miso, mirin, sake, sugar, and soy sauce in a bowl while marinating salmon fillets in miso mixture for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Preheat the oven to 425 Fahrenheit and wipe marinade liquid from salmon fillets before placing them on an oiled aluminum foil spread over a sheet pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through.

Consider natural remedies
There are other ways to promote longevity in life that seniors may want to look into, like natural remedies. This is another area of well-being (besides senior diet plans) where individuals can take control of their own lives — and playing an active role in your health is crucial.

When researching natural remedies, it’s important to keep an eye out for strategies that have a large following or community of advocates. Some of these options may include:

● Acupuncture.
● Aromatherapy.
● Ice or heat for joint pain relief.
● Meditation.

Essential oils are another option seniors may want to consider, and Milestone Retirement has an active program in our communities whereby seniors can get treatment and relief using these essential oils. Interested in more? Contact us today to learn about our communities and the lifestyles our residents lead.