Why Good Nutrition is Important and How to Achieve It

 

Good nutrition helps with mobility, immunity, and organ functioning. Especially during the current pandemic, eating is even more an essential part of warding off illness and recovery. Without the intake of proper nutrients, muscle mass will decrease, resulting in increased risk of infection and weakened immunity1. Eating a nutritious meal is not only about getting proper amount and diverse types of vitamins for improved resistance to disease, but also knowing its benefits in strengthening muscles, especially with the threat of respiratory complications.

 

The National Council of Aging recommend the following ways to ensure a balanced meal:

 

①   Food Groups

Incorporate all food groups into your diet: fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. There are many pre-cut packaged fruits and vegetables that can be bought if using a knife is preventing you from eating fresh produce. Remember, the goal is to have a colorful meal. Please refer to MyPlate as a model to arrange your meals.

 

②   Nutrition Facts

Read the Nutrition Facts label on the packaging, and choose food that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium. If flavoring is an issue, use herbs and spices instead of salt2.

 

③  Nutrients

Special nutrients3 that should be taken heed: potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals, and dietary fiber. Some cereals have important vitamins, yogurt or dark green vegetables contain Calcium, and bananas for potassium.

 

④  Hydration

Stay hydrated by drinking water. Put fruit in your water to flavor it, instead of drinking sugary drinks. Coffee and tea in moderation are approved choices of liquid.

 

⑤  Portion Size

Cut food into smaller sizes to encourage eating a variety of foods, without increasing portions. If you have trouble eating sufficient amounts in general, speak with your doctor about addressing the source of your difficulties or go to the dentist for problems with your teeth or gums that may be impacting your ability to eat.

 

Helpful Resources:

MyPlate: This is the official website of the US Government by USDA built to help you eat all the needed nutrients. They have additional information on examples of food groups, recipes, guides and information in multiple languages, and additional resources.

Nutrition Facts: This is the official website of the US Government by FDA to help educate you on the Nutrition Facts Label. This label consists of crucial information in quantity of nutrients, and ingredients. When you go grocery shopping, you are in charge of your food options. Please ask a staff member if you need assistance.

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