To remain healthy as we age seniors need to consider seriously two lifestyle factors – exercise and diet.
Healthy aging through exercise was addressed in an article in Lanterns in February 2015
With respect to diet the information in this field is fraught with danger.
According to Transparency Market Research the diet industry is expected to generate global sales of 650 billion dollars in 2015. With this kind of a draw you can expect to find all kinds of phonies, frauds and quacks trying to get a piece of the action.
A dizzying range of advice is offered – from eating like a caveman on the Paleo Diet to eating only raw food. Then there are the “-free” diets like Gluten-Free or Carb-Free. Each fad diet uses a unique hook to grab the attention of the market and set itself up as different and more effective.
The trick is to resist the siren call of slick marketing. Concentrate on the basics of food, which is about providing nourishment to the body.
Food contains nutrients required by the body for a variety of purposes. Some important nutrients are carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins. Your body needs a certain amount of each of these nutrients to function properly. Deficiencies in any of the nutrients could have negative health effects.
To learn more about nutrients and how much of each the body needs on a daily basis click here
The energy produced by food is measured in units of calories. The amount of calories needed daily is determined by factors such as age, gender, weight and activity level.
Excess calories are converted to fat and stored in the body. To avoid unnecessary weight gain it’s important to ensure that the daily calorie intake is equal to the body’s requirements. To estimate how many calories your body needs to maintain your current weight try the Mayo Clinic’s calorie calculator here
To reduce weight you can either cut your daily intake of calories or burn extra calories through exercise – or do both.
To lose one pound of weight in one week you need to cut out or burn off 3,500 calories. This may sound like a lot but it translates to 500 calories per day which may be achieved by, for example, consuming 250 fewer calories and burning 250 extra calories through exercise. For an average person brisk walking for an hour will burn over 250 calories. Drinking water instead of a glass of orange juice (100 cal.) and eating a 4 oz steak (150 cal.) rather than an 8 oz steak will result in the desired calorie reduction.
When reducing calories it’s important to ensure that nutritional balance is maintained so that 10 to 20% of the calories are from protein sources, 25–35% from fat (less than 10% saturated) and 45–55% from carbohydrates (less than 10% refined sugar).
It’s not necessary to count calories or use calculators. The Canada Food Guide, published by Health Canada, makes it easy to determine how much food is recommended on a daily basis. Get the information here
Following the Canada Food Guide recommendations will ensure that your diet is healthy, safe and balanced. It will also ensure, insha’Allah, that we, “Eat and drink, but avoid excess”. (The Qur’an, 20:81)