How to add healthy fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into your diet

Battle of olive oil with olive branch over wooden table. Square image, selective focusThe National Institute on Aging shared that eating nutrient-rich foods can help you stay healthy as you age. Choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all the food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein foods, dairy products, and oils. Picking an assortment of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins within every food group throughout the week will help you get many nutrients.

Fats give you energy, and they help the body absorb certain vitamins. Certain kinds of fat can be bad for your health. To lower the unhealthy fat in your diet, consider:

  • Choosing cuts of meat with less fat and remove the skin from chicken
  • Using low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • Selecting oils, such as olive or canola, for cooking

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Many foods with carbohydrates also supply fiber that can help prevent stomach or intestinal problems, such as constipation, and lower cholesterol and blood sugar. To add fiber to your diet, consider:

  • Eating cooked dry beans, peas, and lentils
  • Leaving skins on your fruit and vegetables but wash them before eating
  • Choosing whole fruit over fruit juice

Proteins are used to build and repair tissues. They also help you fight infection. Protein from plant sources tends to be lower in unhealthy fat and provides fiber. To include a variety of protein-dense food, try:

  • Getting protein from eggs, beans, and peas, as well as nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Eating 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood
  • Counting beans and peas as protein foods if you are a vegetarian or vegan. If you regularly eat meat, poultry, and fish, count them as vegetables.

Visit NIA’s website to learn more about these important nutrients. Information about healthy eating for older adults is also available in Spanish.

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