Maintaining Health while Aging: Advice from a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

 

On Wednesday, March 13, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) Day. In honor of this day, we talked to Cindy Bunte, MS, RDN, about ways to keep health a priority as you age.

What are some facts you learned in your RDN training that surprised you?

I always knew that eating fruits and vegetables was important, but, in my training, I learned the mentality that food is medicine. In particular, fruits and vegetables fit into this way of thinking because they supply many vitamins and minerals, plant chemicals, fiber, etc. Due to all of these benefits, fruits and vegetables are our greatest protection against disease.

What common misconceptions do people have about health?

When some people decide that they want to work on their health, many sometimes concentrate on working out more than on changing their eating habits or vice versa. It is a combination of both that will give them the best results.

Why is it so important for people to focus on maintaining their health as they age?

Eating well and being active can make a dramatic difference in the quality of your life!

How should seniors approach their health differently as they age?

As we age, we naturally lose muscle mass.  Some older adults do not get the protein they need to maintain muscle mass, fight infection and recover from an accident or injury. Below are some simple and economical ways to increase protein:

  1. Add more beans to your diet. It is easy to add beans to salads, soups, casseroles, etc.
  2. Eat a variety of nut butters (peanut butter, almond butter, etc.). You can spread nut butter on whole grain bread, crackers, fruits and vegetables.
  3. Eggs are also a good source of protein! Try adding hard boiled eggs or egg whites to any dish.

What are a few general pieces of advice you would give to seniors about their health?

  1. Resistance training is significant to preventing muscle loss.
  2. Ensure you eat an adequate amount of protein.
  3. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
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