Diet over diabetes! If you don't have it, prevent. If you do, manage.
Stacks Image 451

Head over heart disease! Pay attention to what you eat – and to exercise – to gain the heart advantage.
Stacks Image 452

food activism
Stacks Image 453

Discussions here are intended for information and dialog only. Talk with your healthcare professional before making decisions or taking actions that may affect your health.
Art source: 2006 Aids Marathon in Firenze, Italia by VB. Six squares + You are expert, personal photos | Food is not + We are not, street art, London | Pay attention, Borough Market, London, all by VB.
Version 1.0 | Update 2Sep11
Written by Paul Quin
Stacks Image 455

The body knows. Best.

Preventive health begins with eating well. For us older folks, going back to our teenage diets is not likely to give us back teenage energies. Here are some useful points to consider when thinking about food.

Hydrate. Eat often. Eat natural. Keep moving.

Over-weight or under-nourished brings problems we don't need. Starting today, eat better to begin a safer, more energetic life.

Stacks Image 456

Six squares sit well.

Many of us have small appetites. We often eat alone. Cooking is a hassle. The temptation is to jump from breakfast coffee to a late-night dinner. Havoc on our bodies. Better: Eat all day. Six squares. Snack mercilessly. Prepare more than a meal's worth each time you cook. Keep meals ready in the 'fridge.
Variety brings balanced nutrition. Each shop, pick up something new to you. Bulk buying is for large families – don't get stuck with economy packs that narrow your eating options. Simple meals of varied ingredients balance your diet and up nutrition.

Stacks Image 457

Food is not what it used to be.

U.S. wheat has ever-higher percentages of gluten, so diets comfortable in our childhood might today give us intestinal troubles. Pizza every night makes life simple, but a varied diet nurtures us best.
Many prepared 'foods' rely on engineered ingredients. Hydrogenated oils act like beef fat in our arteries, so some vegetable dishes have the coronary risk of meat. High-fructose corn syrup is designed to bypass our natural ability to feel full, so we eat and eat and never feel satisfied. Read the label; know what you eat.
In bodies under siege from age-driven hormonal changes, ingesting growth hormones used by dairy and meat farmers to increase yields can overwhelm our defenses. Find hormone-free foods.

Stacks Image 458

We are not what we used to be.

Milk is for the young. Some genetic strains, remarkably Scandinavian, digest milk all their life. Others, Native Americans + Mediterranean types, lose the ability to digest milk as they reach maturity. Don't rely on milk products if they upset your stomach.
Heavy foods are for the maniacally active. As physical activity slows, food intake should adjust. If we don't play football, we might not need much fat – less stored energy gets used, so excess fat just sits on us. If we don't run a marathon, high-carb diets are a waste. Be sensible. Ask your body how it feels.
Many medicines effect how bodies use food. When you change medications, pay attention to weight gain or loss, digestive upset, headaches, energy level, how your skin smells. To keep balance, you might want to change how you eat.

Stacks Image 459

You are the expert on your body's needs.

You can lead a horse to vitamins, but you can't make his intestines take them up. Ever notice how your urine takes on color right after your vitamin pill? Pissing it away. A pill is no substitute for food. The body likes nutrition in context, congregations of elements, not too concentrated. Vitamins can help, but consider taking them with a meal. Try different strategies, ask your pharmacist for advice, stay with what feels best.
Fad diets tend to go for immediate results at the cost of long-term sustainability. Yes, life is short, but the long view keeps life more pleasant, and that's always good. Make a little improvement each day and your health will wind up better than with monthly conversion experiences + radical diets.
Your natural state is feeling good. With age, things work sometimes less well and medicines may disturb our gut. Other meds might make digestion work, but the best solution relies on the body's natural state. Like a bike, the gut remembers how to digest. Help it.

Stacks Image 460

The miracle of digestion is crucial to life.

Inside, a whole world of tiny plantlets and animalies breaks down what we eat and passes the useful parts into the bloodstream. If we destroy our inner environment, our gut stops working. Overloading on sugar, for example, makes your insides too acidic for healthy-human-gut flora + fauna. Yeasts grow instead, taking nutrition out of our body instead of putting it in. (Guys, if you don't know about yeasts, ask a woman friend.) An intense sugar craving, that's the bad boys crying out for their food. Yoghurt or other probiotics can help normalize the environment and re-seed the good stuff. Garlic + ginger are other traditional gut-easers. Each of us is different; pay attention to your self and eat what makes you feel best.
Notice the rhythm of your gut. Food passes through us in 18 hours, so tonight's dinner comes out the morning after tomorrow; when you eat beets or corn, it's easy to tell how long it takes. If your stools are loose or food passes to quickly, your intestines are agitated – maybe too much coffee or foreign bacteria. If your stools are hard, you may be seriously dehydrated or morbidly inactive. Natural foods tend to have indigestible bits, the dread fiber, that provide bulk so peristalsis, the rhythmic motion that moves food along, can work and sweep away junk from the little crevices along the way.

Stacks Image 461

Pay attention to your whole body.

Dry skin means dry gut: Drink. Water. Coffee, Coke, alcohol dehydrate. A cup of coffee, you need a cup of water just to stay even. Our bodies are fluids; help them stay fluid. Drink all day.
Take a post-prandial walk. Light exercise after eating provides large-muscle motion to help the blood flow, intestines pulse and digestion proceed smoothly. We're not talking about scaling Machu Picchu. Imagine a walk around the garden, whatever that would be in your life.
Your dentist can often spot nutrition or digestion problems before even you are aware. The mouth is the gateway to the gut. Its condition reflects your insides. Gum + teeth problems, the state of the tongue, mouth sores – any or all of these indicate trouble best nipped in the bud. When your dentist says you're dehydrated or have digestive problems, listen. Do something about it.

Stacks Image 462

If you want to know about food,
talk with folks who know food.

Master chefs know about making comforting and nutritious combinations. Figuring out stuff simple to fix. For example, Jamie Oliver's Ministry of Food can teach any of us a lot about sustainable eating on a budget.
Your greengrocer knows what's local + fresh. And a bargain. Farmer's markets are close to the rhythm of local nature and offer pleasant social occasions. You can often pick up cooking hints too – and find delicious food you've never before tried.

Stacks Image 463

Join the battle to defeat diabetes.
Start with yourself, today.

National Institute on Aging + National Library of Medicine SeniorHealth website answers FAQs about nutrition, along with shopping + eating tips.