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August's Wellness Topic: Digestive Health
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Arlene Dalcin, RD
Digestive Health

Nutrition and Aging
by Arlene Dalcin

Reflecting back on my diet as I have aged, I realize that my priorities and focus have shifted throughout the years. However, what has remained the same is the question I often ask myself: "What is best for me to eat right now to promote my health and wellbeing?"

Listed below are some personal insights from each decade.

  • In my early 20s, my main concern was how to create quick meals that were inexpensive and required little cooking. If I had to resort to frozen dinners, I supplemented them with lots of fresh, leafy-green salads.
  • In my 30s, I had to learn how to eat while pregnant and breast-feeding. Although calorie requirements increase during those times, pregnancy did not give me free reign to eat whatever I wanted. Then, like now, there's not a lot of room for wasted calories from added sugars, so I try to limit these to 150 or less per day.
  • As my 40s approached, I began paying more attention to calcium intake. Wanting to avoid the age-associated decrease in bone density, I incorporated into my routine the recommended two to three daily servings of low fat dairy foods and a calcium supplement.
  • Now that I am in my 50s, being mindful of my caloric intake has become even more important. Metabolic and hormonal changes associated with aging make it harder to avoid weight gain, especially around the midsection. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains not only helps with digestive function, but makes it possible to keep my energy intake in check.
And so, as the years continue to pass I will keep asking that key question — "What am I going to eat today to stay happy, healthy and fit?"

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