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Healthy eating habits matter.

Food dominates our lives, a necessity that directly fuels our health, even our vitality and independence as we get older. The choices we make can improve arthritis, create resilience instead of broken bones if we fall, help us fight off sickness and even live longer lives… or tip the scale in the opposite direction.

The impact of what we consume has incredible impact on our lives.

“I encourage people to choose foods that come from a plant, not made in a plant. We want natural foods that grow out of the earth,” says Tracy Garrett, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and certified diabetes educator at Sun Health’s Center for Health & Wellbeing.

Food can even be considered nutritional medicine, thanks to its ability to cure or lessen the impact of many ailments common to older adults. The right choices in our diet helps us live longer, healthier lives.

For example, foods high in fiber (such as beans, kale, brussel sprouts, broccoli, pears and chia seeds) help reduce inflammation, something that can significantly improve quality of life and reduce pain for older adults.

Arthritis isn’t the only condition associated with inflammation. The list includes Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, allergies, asthma, cancer, diabetes and others.

If the foods we consume impact our health so drastically, it’s certainly logical that wrapping in healthier eating habits can have significant impact as well. If this topic interests you, we’ve identified four wonderful articles full of information to help you learn more. There’s no better time than a fresh New Year to try them out!

  1. 15 Eating Habits That Make You Live Longer, Health magazine
  2. 19 Healthy Eating Habits to Adopt in the New Year, Self.com
  3. 7 Tips on Developing Better Eating Habits in Your Senior Years, SeniorAdvisor.com
  4. Healthy Living Made Easier: 3 Painless Ways to Reduce Meal Portion Sizes, sunhealthwellbeing.org

As you read these, each one offers distinctly different information but have a few common themes. What’s most important? Eat more plant-based foods, have a rainbow of colors on your plate to ensure you get a wider variety of nutrients, mindfully eat, drink more water (especially before meals)!, use smaller plates, and focus on whole foods when you grocery shop, rather than processed foods.

Even if you introduce just one healthier eating habit this week, that’s one you didn’t have before.

Interested in learning how a health coach can support your goals to make them become reality, or motivate you with healthy new habits? The Center for Health & Wellbeing offers support services in three West Valley locations, plus an assortment of free and low-cost resources. Learn more here.

This information is provided by health professionals from the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing. It should not be substituted for medical advice from your physician.

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