Nutrition: Why You Need It. Where to Get It.Posted by Medicare Made Clear
The body needs vitamins and minerals to survive and stay healthy. Eating well and getting plenty of exercise may help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia. If you already have a chronic condition, eating well and exercise may help to better manage your symptoms.
Eating well may also help to:
- Boost your energy levels. By consuming enough calories, you give your body the fuel it needs throughout the day.
- Control your weight. Consuming the right number of calories for your level of physical activity can help control your weight.
- Aid your digestion. Eating more whole-grain foods with fiber, fruits and vegetables or drinking more water may help avoid constipation.
To help you get your daily nutritional needs met, eat a varied diet and select foods from all the food groups. Here are some examples of healthy food choices.
- Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli. Generally, fruits or veggies that are brighter or deeper in color have the most nutrients.
- Deep-colored fruit such as berries and peaches
- Whole, enriched and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100 percent whole wheat bread
- Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk
- Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs
- Liquid vegetable oils, soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat, and spices to replace salt
- Fluids such as water and fat-free milk
Still Short on Nutrition?
There are some common problems that can make it harder for people to get the proper nutrition. Reasons such as feeling too lonely to eat, problems chewing and swallowing, physical problems like stroke or arthritis that make cooking or eating difficult, being lactose intolerant, issues with medication and food interactions and a whole list of other issues can make it difficult to meet daily nutritional needs.
If you don’t think you are getting your daily fill of vitamins and minerals, see your doctor. Your doctor may suggest a dietary supplement to add nutrients to your diet. Your doctor may also have additional recommendations to help you meet your dietary goals.
If you have a chronic health condition, such as kidney disease or diabetes, or if you’ve recently had a kidney transplant, Medicare offers a Medical Nutrition Therapy benefit for qualified individuals. The Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) benefit allows eligible individuals with Medicare up to three hours of nutrition counseling during the first year of eligibility.
Whatever your age, you can start making positive lifestyle changes. Eating well may help you stay healthy and independent — and look and feel good — in the years to come.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
My Plate for Older Adults: Nutritional and physical activity guidance for older adults—Tuft University
Vitamins and Minerals: Nutritional intake recommendations for older adults—National Institute on Aging