Consistently paying attention to what is on your plate, and how much you drink and sleep, contribute to your quality of aging. Use these tips and resources to guide your choices.
Dan Buettner, founder of BlueZones®, traveled the world for National Geographic to identify the diet, eating patterns, and lifestyles of the world’s longest-living people. This research led to the creation of a meal planner that gives adults the best chance to live to 100.
This meal planner is based around the Mediterranean Diet, which supports the brain, heart, and healthy aging.
What to Eat and Not Eat
“Eat the rainbow.” This is the best way to give your body the nutrients it needs. Simply put, this means eating 4½ cups of colorful fruits and vegetables every day.
It’s also important to understand the effects of added sugar on the brain. Excess sugar impairs both your cognitive skills and your self-control. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), your daily added sugar intake should not exceed:
- For women: Six teaspoons, 25 grams, or 100 calories of added sugar.
- For men: Nine teaspoons, 36 grams, or 150 calories of added sugar.
According to the AHA, 77% of Americans are looking to lower sugar in their diets. And 7 in 10 consumers are willing to give up their favorite sugary treat in order to find a healthy alternative. Food manufacturers are required to list the amount of added sugars on nutrition facts labels — read them carefully!
Focus on possibilities: You can still treat yourself! Swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate contains less sugar and is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation and insulin resistance, and improve brain function.
FREE fruits and vegetables
Qualifying York Countians age 60 and older can get vouchers to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from participating local farm markets. This program is offered through the York County Area Agency on Aging in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. In 2021, individuals with incomes less than $23,828 and 2-person households with income less than $32,227 received $24 per year. Learn more.
The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s private ElderShare program provides a monthly box of food to qualifying seniors 60 years of age or older. ElderShare is in addition to any other food assistance the adult may receive, except that potential participants cannot be current recipients of the USDA’s monthly Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) for low-income seniors. Learn more.
The York County Area Agency on Aging provides a variety of no or low cost services for York County seniors age 60+. This includes home delivered meals. Contact them to better understand if you qualify for their services. 717-771-9610.
Are you looking for a list of providers who help with food insecurity? Here are three resources to assist you. Or, connect with a TroveStreet navigator for help in narrowing the best options for you.
Drink a large glass of water when you wake up! Your brain loses water as you sleep, so hydrating first thing in the morning is a healthy way to start the day. And it helps activate your internal organs.
But don’t stop there. Consuming water throughout the day has lots of benefits, including improving concentration. Some research says you should drink half of your body weight in ounces per day. An easy way to know if you are drinking enough water is if you rarely feel thirsty or your urine is colorless or light yellow.
It’s common for adults to enjoy a cocktail at a social event, a glass of wine with dinner, or a cold brew while watching the game. But know the guidelines. For those who do not take medication and are in good health, it is recommended that you limit your total alcohol consumption to no more than seven drinks per week.
Red wine is extremely beneficial when it comes to your skin. It helps rejuvenate the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. The antioxidants and vitamins C and A in red wine help calm your skin. Drinking or directly applying red wine on your face can help you combat every aspect that irritates the skin. As a result, some spas now offer red wine facials.
Grabbing that “cup of joe” has an upside to aging. In addition to reducing the risk of chronic conditions and ailments, coffee may help prevent age-related mild cognitive impairment and prevent or delay dementia. The recommended daily amount is roughly 4 cups. Make sure you drink plenty of water, too. It’s your best bet to stay hydrated.
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every 24 hours helps maintain your brain health. Not getting enough sleep or having poor quality sleep can result in memory problems, forgetfulness, more accidents and falls, high blood pressure, depression, and obesity. Try going to bed and getting up from bed at the same time each day.
TroveStreet is Here to Help
If you haven’t already, create an online profile with TroveStreet where you can jot down things you want to keep handy based on what you read or save this article for easy access. TroveStreet offers a Quick-Start Planning Tool with four questions to facilitate your planning. If you have questions or want to connect with a Planning Navigator, call TroveStreet at 717-363-1129.