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Hydration and Healthy Living for Seniors

Hydration and Healthy Living for Seniors

With warmer weather on its way, Chelsea McCullough, Clinical Nutrition Manager at Longwood at Oakmont recently provided residents with tips on hydration and healthy living as a part of the community’s celebration of National Nutrition Month.

To kick off the month-long educational activities, McCullough presented a seminar discussing the benefits of staying hydrated especially during the Spring/Summer months, which include:

– Controlling body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure

– Maintaining lubrication of joints

– Removing waste from the body

– Maintaining a healthy metabolism

During the presentation, she also outlined the signs of dehydration – increasingly stronger thirst, fatigue, loss of appetite, heat intolerance, dark-colored urine and increase heart rate. Additionally, residents received tips on how to stay hydrated during and after a gastrointestinal illness.

McCullough also held one-on-one sessions with residents discussing a variety of topics including weight loss, label reading, increasing fiber in diets, heart health, lactose free diet and portion control. Below are some of her recommendations to incorporate these health concerns into a daily routine:

– Weight Loss – Start with a small, achievable goals, and aim to reduce 250-500 calories from your diet each day

– Increasing Fiber in a Diet – Make simple changes to increase fiber and whole grains in your diet. For example, add fresh fruit to 100% whole wheat cereal for breakfast, for sandwiches choose whole wheat bread instead of white or italian breads, and swap white rice for brown rice.

– Label Reading – The percentage (%) of Daily Value (DV) on food labels indicate the percent of each nutrient in a single serving. Look for food items with a lower percentage of Daily Value (DV)  of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. All values are based on a 2,000 calorie  diet, so 5% or less is low, while 20% or more is high.

– Heart Health – Reduce your blood pressure by decreasing the amount of salt intake. At meal times, skip soup, and ask for sauces and dressings on the side.

– Lactose Free Diet – There are several options for those requiring a lactose free diet. Lactose-free milk and ice cream are available commercially. Some individuals my be able to eat dairy foods that contain little lactose such as swiss, cheddar and parmesan cheese; cottage cheese and ricotta cheese. Additionally, taking lactose supplements prior to consuming dairy products may also be an option.

– Portion Control – Many restaurant portions are double or triple a normal sized portion. Therefore while dining out, take steps to avoid overeating by asking for a to-go box when your meal arrives. At home, store high-calorie foods like donuts, chips, cookies or ice cream out of eyesight, and move healthier food options to areas that are eye level.

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