Does your diet stack up to these Centenarians?
Many centenarians around the world tend to agree with the old adage that “you are what you eat.” Diet plays an extremely important role in longevity for both the body and mind’s proper function. In order to maintain energy, health and joy of living, it is important to make sure you are eating the right amount for your body and that you are eating the proper foods that provide adequate nutrition.
The National Institute of Health recommends that women over 50 years consume between 1600-2200 calories per day, while men over 50 years consume between 2000-2800 calories per day. The recommended specific caloric intake a day for each individual largely depends on how active his or her lifestyle is. A more active lifestyle requires more calories, while a more sedentary lifestyle requires less. At Rittenhouse Village, we prepare a variety of made from scratch meal options, so that Seniors can choose foods to make them feel good their best selves.
The proper caloric intake remains important, but of greater significance are the nutritional components in the kinds of foods eaten. Eating a nutritionally balanced diet is especially important for Seniors to maintain energy, health and overall longevity. Let’s explore the dietary nutrients that the thriving populations of 100 something year olds in Okinawa, Japan and Sardinia, Italy consume to live a long and vibrant life.
- Okinawa, Japan has some of the oldest living people on earth. Their diet incorporates mainly whole grains, vegetables, fish and soy products. Many of these foods contain important Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are an important nutrient that people must get from foods in order to maintain healthy brain and heart function. New research shows that Omega 3-Fatty Acids can protect the body from heart disease, strokes and possibly even cancers and other diseases. Some specific foods you can eat containing Omega 3-Fatty Acids include salmon, walnuts, soybean/ canola/olive oils and flaxseeds. It is recommended by the American Heart Association that adults with heart disease take 1-4 grams of Omega 3-Fatty Acids per day.
Okinawans also tend to eat foods that are rich in Taurine, which lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, such as squid, octopus and seaweed. Some foods that are accessible and rich in Taurine in the USA include shellfish, salmon, tuna, sardines, eggs, beef, lamb and seaweed.
Okinawans also eat sweet potatoes and herbal teas that contain antioxidants, which break down foods to help get them get the most nutrients out of their food, while also preventing some cancers. Other antioxidant rich foods include blueberries, dark chocolate, tomatoes, carrots and spinach.
- Sardinia, Italy has one of the highest rates of men and women in the world reaching 100 years of age and beyond. Their diet is comprised of healthy Mediterranean foods including homegrown vegetables and fava beans, which contain adequate sources of dietary fiber. A high fiber diet is crucial for older adults in maintaining healthy digestion, preventing diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome, and improving blood sugar levels. Some specific foods that older adults can eat just like the Sardinians that contain excellent sources of dietary fiber, include beans (like fava), spinach, cabbage, asparagus, potatoes (with their skins), green beans, broccoli, turnips, prunes and carrots.
In addition, Sardinians eat the recommended amounts of Calcium from local milk and cheese. Calcium is an essential nutrient in maintaining healthy bones and teeth, particularly for older adults. Older adults should get around 1200 mg of calcium per day, which can come from dairy, leafy greens, figs, broccoli, oranges and more.
So how do you think you stack up against the Okinawans and the Sardinians? Are you getting those necessary nutrients for your body? At Rittenhouse Village, our Senior Citizens do not have to spend the time worrying about getting the proper nutrients and calories in their meals. Our sensational meals are prepared from scratch, and give older adults all the adequate nutrition they need to live a healthy and vibrant life. Visit Rittenhouse Village to view a sample lunch or dinner menu today.
Rittenhouse Village At Portage provides a range of senior living programs to help support a healthy and happy lifestyle for our residents. We also offer several senior living options for our residents to choose from. Contact us today at 219.245.7742 for more information.