National Nutrition Month Promotes Healthy Habits

March is National Nutrition Month in the USA and is sponsored by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

fruits and vegetables

The Los Altos Town Crier in California recognizes that the Academy has set aside this month to educate and inform the public about eating right and getting fit through physical exercise habits. There is recognition of personal food preferences and diverse cultural and ethnic traditions.

Gene Lennon, owner of Right at Home Santa Clara County, told the Town Crier that elderly people often depend on microwavable convenience food that contains extra fats, sugar and salt. The result can be poor health conditions.

"Eating right doesn't need to be complicated or expensive. Sometimes only a few adjustments are needed," Lennon told the Town Crier.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics advocates changes in dietary nutrients as people age. Here are the five recommendations:

1. Increase the level of calcium and Vitamin D. These nutrients assist in the maintenance of strong bone health. Seniors should eat three daily servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt. Dark-green leafy vegetables, canned fish,  fortified cereals and fruit juices are also high in calcium.

2. Vitamin B12 is often lacking in 50+ people. Valuable sources of vitamin B12 are lean meat, fortified cereals and fish and seafood.

3. To decrease high blood pressure, seniors should increase potassium in their diets and lessen sodium or salt intake. Fruits, vegetables, milk and yogurt are high in potassium.

4. An organic method to stay regular, prevent Type 2 diabetes, control weight and lower the risk for heart disease is found in high-fiber foods like whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, peas, fruits and vegetables.

5. Use polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fats versus saturated and trans fats. The former are considered to be healthful fats, found in olive oil and peanut oil, for example. The latter are present in many commercially processed and baked foods.