The Importance of Nutrition for Graceful Aging

Like so many health topics, there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding nutrition. Should you count macros? Eat fewer carbs? Go vegan? 

The number of approaches to nutrition and good health is surprising and confusing, especially if you just want basic information like what you should eat to remain healthy as you get older. 

Our team at Osteopathic Center for Healing, led by Neil Spiegel, DO, and Jennifer Gularson, PA-C, can help. We offer a range of anti-aging services, and we’re happy to provide nutritional guidance tailored to your situation. 

What kind of diet should I follow? 

The old saying “nothing is certain except death and taxes” could be amended to include trendy diets. There’s the grapefruit diet, keto, the fruit cleanse, blood type diet, gluten free, and on and on. There’s no lack of eating plans you could follow, but the question is, which is the best? The answer, of course, is none of them. 

The best diet is one that meets your specific nutritional needs, is balanced, and includes a wide variety of foods with an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, health fats, and high-quality protein. As simple as that sounds, it turns out to be quite complicated for many people, especially if you’ve espoused trendy diets in the past. 

It’s all about your needs

As a unique individual, your dietary needs may not be the same as someone else’s. For example, if you need to lose weight, you have a different set of nutritional needs than someone who is losing muscle mass. Women may need more calcium than men, and you may have specific micronutrient deficiencies. 

One of the things we offer people who come to us for nutritional counseling is blood work to identify any deficiencies. You may be able to correct them through diet, or you may need a supplement. 

It’s not unusual to develop food sensitivities as you age. For example, some people are less able to tolerate dairy. We can help you find foods you enjoy that contain calcium, or we may  recommend a supplement. 

Quality become increasingly important

Most people need fewer calories as they get older, and getting enough protein is important too. But fewer calories doesn’t mean you need less nutrition. 

Eating nutrient-dense foods can help. For example, instead of having french fries cooked in some unknown oil, you’re better off eating a baked sweet potato drizzled with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). The sweet potato is rich in vitamins A and C and the mineral manganese. It contains fiber as well as antioxidants called anthocyanins. And unlike many of the inflammatory oils used for commercial frying, EVOO is a healthy fat.

In general, highly processed, packaged foods generally have fewer nutrients than fresh, whole foods.

There’s more to eating than food

If you think about some of the best meals you’ve ever had, chances are you remember the moment in time, who you shared the meal with, and the setting. Food is an important part of culture, and we would never suggest you should shun big family dinners or special meals. Everyone needs a treat from time to time. It’s what you eat the majority of the time that keeps you healthy.

In addition to eating a well-balanced diet, a healthy nutrition plan includes shopping, cooking, and enjoying your food. If you want to learn more about all of the elements of good nutrition, schedule an appointment at Osteopathic Center for Healing in Rockville, Maryland. We’re happy to discuss your situation and your nutritional needs.

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