Can you be healthy at any age? When does good health start?
As we grow and age, our bodies change and we need to eat differently. It all comes down to good quality, real food. If we start our children on processed foods and junk food, we guide them towards a life of the Standard American Diet. This diet is rich in processed foods, devoid of essential minerals and nutrients. When we start a child in a lifestyle of foods that are nutritionally dense and alive, we start them off on a road of good health and a great quality of life. Real food is full of life and life force energy. Our bodies and our cells know how to break that down and use it properly. It helps our bodies to fight disease, heal, and stay healthy.
Is there nutrition that is specific to age? That depends. Everyone and their bodies are different. Below are some general tips to help you through:
Infants: Food provides the energy and nutrients that babies need to be healthy. For a baby, breastmilk is optimal. It has all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Nutrient-rich infant formula is available for babies whose mothers are not able to or choose not to breastfeed.
Toddlers: Food provides the energy and nutrients that young children need to be healthy. Toddlers are learning to feed themselves and to eat new foods. They should eat a variety of foods from all of the food groups.
Each day, toddlers need enough nutrients, including iron and calcium.
Children: A healthy diet helps children grow and learn. It also helps prevent obesity and weight-related diseases, such as diabetes. To give your child a nutritious diet:
- Make half of what is on your child's plate fruits and vegetables
- Choose healthy sources of protein, such as lean meat, nuts, fish, and eggs
- Serve whole-grain bread and cereals because they are high in fiber. Reduce refined grains.
- Broil, grill, or steam foods instead of frying them
- Limit fast food and junk food
- Offer water or milk instead of sugary fruit drinks and sodas
- Keep sugar to a minimum
Adolescents/Teens: As a teenager, your body begins to go through many changes. Along with these changes, they are probably becoming more independent and making more of their own choices. Some of the biggest choices they face are about their health and the types of food they put into their body.
Remind them that eating a healthy diet and being physically active can help them feel good, look good, and do their best in school, work, or sports. It may also prevent diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, stroke, and some cancers when they are older.
Adults: As adults, if we have eaten healthy up to this point, our bodies crave nutrients. In adulthood, it becomes a little tricky. Men and women crave different types of nutrition at different stages. The general rule of thumb is to listen to your body and learn what your body needs. Keep up your physical activity and continue to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats. Stay hydrated and you will age gracefully.
Seniors: As you age, you might need less energy. You still need just as many of the nutrients in food. To get them, choose a variety of healthy foods. Avoid empty calories. These are foods with lots of calories but few nutrients, such as chips, cookies, soda, and alcohol.
Remember, food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Your body will thank you if take care of it.