Hearthstone Communities offers tips for improving your eating habits

SPONSORED • Published: Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017 8:47 a.m. CDT

Healthier eating habits matter more than ever in your senior years. Poor nutrition can weaken your immune system and land you in the doctor’s office more often.

A senior with good eating habits will feel better and live longer.

Enjoy home-cooked meals. Processed foods are usually unnecessarily high in salt and sugar.

Hearthstone Communities, a continuing care retirement community in McHenry County, offers restaurant-style dining that offers healthy, nutritious meal options for its residents. Independent living options also include fully equipped kitchens.

According to the AARP, the average American eats one serving of whole grains daily – but eating three or more servings each day can cut overall death rate by about 20 percent, according to a study from Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Add some oatmeal or brown rice to your diet to increase your serving of whole grains.

Taste buds change over time, so don’t be afraid to try fruits and vegetables that you may not have had before.  Nuts also help lower the risk of heart disease by 29 percent in a study of adults age 55-69 who ate 10 grams of nuts daily – just six cashews or eight almonds!

Research shows that using a smaller plate and bowl makes a difference in how much you eat. Reduce your portion size if you struggle with being overweight, but skip this tip if you are a senior who struggles with a loss of appetite.

Increase your intake of water, and decrease the amount of soda you drink. Dehydration is more common in seniors, so be sure to have a glass of water nearby during the day.

The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar a day, and men no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams).

It’s never too late to change your eating habits.

Hearthstone Communities, 920 North Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098, 815-338-2110, www.hearthstonewoodstock.org.