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The Eldercare Advocate: New Decade, New You

January 12, 2020|Active lifestyle, body type, brain health, Cognition, customs, eat right, food and medications, food choices, foods and inflammation, health, new decade, new you, Quality of Life, supplements, Well-Being, wellness, wellness journey, wellness strategies


How many of us think about devising a strategy to maintain or improve our health and wellness as we age? We may discuss or develop strategies to secure our financial future, we seek out medical plans to serve us in the event of failing health, but we rarely develop a health and wellness strategy, a true plan, to give us the best shot to live as healthy as we can for as long as we can. This is not usually included in any conversation on aging. A plan for your health and wellness journey encompasses more than food choices and exercise. Many people are unaware of the impact that getting sufficient sleep and drinking water has on health and wellness. But a complete strategies for wellness also encompasses mindfulness, a strong mind body connection and positivity. 

Though food choices are important considerations, it is beneficial to look at them through the lens of nutrition management. Nutrition management is more than thinking about food choices and diet...it's developing a strategy for selecting the appropriate foods for your body and lifestyle. The body is like the recipe for a favorite food. Specific ingredients are required proportioned in their relationship to one another in order to produce a well-rounded, fine tasting finished dish. If the proportions are incorrect, an ingredient is mistakenly omitted or added, the end product will not be as expected. So it is with our bodies. Food is our fuel and good nutrition is the key to managing our bodies for optimal functioning. Intelligent nutrition management includes diet types and food recommendations for specific conditions the general impact of various foods on body function. For example, avoiding foods that impact inflammation in the body is important for maintaining good digestive and intestinal health. There are specific foods that boost brain health and decrease your risk of memory loss. One website that offers this information is: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-brain-foods.

The importance of how you eat your food is of equal importance. Digestion actually begins in the mouth when you are chewing. The process of chewing allows the saliva to break down the food so that nutrients are more easily absorbed in the stomach. There is research that discusses the need for chewing your food up to 32 times. You can find more information on the importance and number of times you should be chewing your food at: http://heritageihc.com/blog/chewing-your-food/  or https://www.healthline.com/health/how-many-times-should-you-chew-your-food

Vitamin levels may be impacted by season as well as cultural and religious customs. For example, sunshine is an important source of Vitamin D. Colder seasons and climates where there is less exposure to sunlight may affect the body’s Vitamin D levels. This would also hold true for people in nursing home or assisted living facilities who are rarely out of doors as well as older people unable to venture outdoors. Recently, it was pointed out to me that cultural practices of covering the body from head to toe may also impact Vitamin D levels. 

Finally, it is vitally important that you understand your body type and lifestyle,  your body’s personal needs, and the interaction of foods with supplements and medications when making food choices. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics https://www.eatright.org and https://www.diets4me.com are two resources for finding out science-based food and nutrition information.

Is there a particular formula or ingredients for achieving optimal health and well-being? Is it ever too late to begin that journey?

There is available research and many websites that provide the framework and strategies that you can be apply whenever you decide to begin that journey. What better time than a new decade? The New York Times has a 30 day well challenge. Which can be viewed at: http://www.nytimes.com/programs/well-challenge or you can begin with the 7 minute workout. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/09/the-scientific-7-minute-workout/


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