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Better with age: nutrition for adults

Cortney Bloomer
Carson City Health and Human Services

This column appears in the Nevada Appeal Wednesday health pages. It addresses topics related to the health of our community.

March is National Nutrition Month, and Carson City Health and Human Services’ focus on creating a healthy community includes heathy eating and access to healthy foods. As the weather warms, more local fresh fruits and vegetables are going to be available, but in the meantime, here are a few tips to help you eat healthy, no matter the season.

Eating colorful foods can enhance your diet with a variety of important nutrients that provide a multitude of health benefits, including lowering cancer risk, slowing aging, lowering risk of heart disease, and building a stronger immune system. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables in all colors to your diet to ensure you have plenty of nutrients on your plate.

Increasing fiber intake can be beneficial for adults. Eating plenty of fiber can help move food efficiently through your digestive system and can reduce the risk of diseases, including colon cancer. Some people choose to take a fiber supplement, while others eat plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetable, which also have other beneficial nutrients.

Many Americans eat far more salt than they need, which can contribute to high blood pressure. As we age, it’s a good idea to reduce salt intake to help keep our hearts healthy. Making your own foods from scratch is a healthy alternative to purchasing prepared foods, which are often high in salt. When you cook at home you can control how much salt you add.

As portion sizes have expanded, so have our waistlines. Moderating food intake coupled with adequate physical activity is a great way to maintain a healthy weight. Start by reducing your portion sizes by using smaller plates, or eating slowly and stopping when you feel full. Additionally, try cutting out high-calorie foods with little nutritional value, like soda, fast food, or processed snacks.

At any age, it’s important to consume a variety of foods from all food groups to ensure you’re getting enough nutrients and to make sure you’re taking part in physical activity to keep your muscles and bones healthy and strong.

For more information about Health Department services, check out our website at http://www.gethealthycarsoncity.org, or visit us on Facebook at Carson City Health and Human Services.