Tips for getting the nutrients you need to feel and live your best

by Candace Lea, MBA, Community Liaison and marketing person for Adult Care Services

You may have heard the sayings, “Food is life,” or, “You are what you eat.”  Well, I believe these sayings to be true and they are especially important to our senior population.  As humans age, our bodies become more reactive to what we put in them.  We also stop producing important vitamins and minerals, which impact how we feel.

That’s why, if you are mindful about what you eat, not only will you feel better, but you’ll experience a better quality of life, and you will age gracefully. I am by no means a nutrition expert, but at 53, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet makes all the difference in the world as to how I feel.

According to the National Institute on Aging, “It is better to get the nutrients you need from food rather than a pill.”

So, what are some of the foods we can incorporate into our meal plans to create a healthy and delicious diet?

We’ve heard since we were children that we should eat our fruits and veggies. But which ones are packed with the good stuff we need as we age?

Dark green leafy veggies such as kale and spinach, as well as broccoli, are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K as well as many B vitamins and magnesium. Our friends the B vitamins and magnesium are important because they help us to manage stress. Magnesium also helps to maintain regular bowel movements (there, I said it!). This topic is a bit taboo, but it’s such a crucial component of health and daily life.

Citrus fruits, tomatoes, and potatoes can be an excellent source of much-needed vitamin C, which is crucial in helping us heal and keeping our immune system healthy and running smoothly. It assists us in maintaining strong, healthy bones and teeth.  Inadequate levels of Vitamin C can lead to anxiety, depression, and fatigue.

Our diets should include enough protein and fiber, too.

Protein-rich foods include beans, legumes, nuts, cheese, eggs, and meat.  Beans and legumes are a delicious alternative to meat.  They have a high protein content and they are also high in fiber.  And we know what fiber is good for: digestion! I won’t start talking about the “taboo” subject again, but you get the idea.

Other fiber-packed foods include avocados, raspberries, and pears as well as beans, squash, and artichokes.  Grains such as rice and oatmeal contain fiber, too.  Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal, sprinkled with a few raspberries and some walnuts, and you have a well-balanced, palate-pleasing breakfast.

In addition to nutrient-rich foods, we should be cognizant of how much water we drink. The body consists of 60 percent water. We all know we need water to survive, but how much? The experts say we need between eight and ten eight-ounce glasses per day. And no, you can’t count soda, fruit drinks, coffee, or tea!  My advice: get a cute new water bottle, carry it with you wherever you go, and drink up!

At the Margaret T. Morris Assisted Living Center and Susan J. Rheem Adult Day Center, our chefs are constantly looking for creative ways to make sure the people we serve are eating healthy, nutritious home-cooked meals. The Chefs use fresh, well-balanced ingredients to ensure that all meals are delicious. Helping the people we serve to age gracefully with dignity and respect is our highest priority. Our motto: Quality Care, Quality Service, Quality of Life.

To learn more about the programs at Adult Care Services, visit