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6 recipes for eating right

Malnutrition is often underdiagnosed in retirees. Here are six simple steps to a good diet.

Nutrition is not the same as going on a diet. Diets are short-term fixes that rarely stick, but learning good nutrition is a skill that means you are always making smart choices when it comes to eating the right foods.

Eating right helps us stay at our fighting weight, helps keep our heart healthy and is one of the key pillars of ageing well. We are indeed what we eat.

Here are six simple steps to getting it right:

1. Get enough protein

According to the Heart Foundation, “healthy eating patterns include a variety of healthy protein sources, especially fish and seafood, legumes (such as beans and lentils), nuts and seeds.”

The foundation also suggest smaller amounts of eggs and lean poultry, but say if you’re a red meat fan, you should only eat it very lean and only 1-3 times a week.

2. Get plenty of fibre

You need to make sure you are eating plenty of fruits and vegetables if you want a healthier heart. These foods have plenty of fibre in them that, simplistically, help scrub our arteries and keep our cholesterol down. Fibre also helps keep you regular.

3. Eat the right fats

Fat gets a bad rap but there are good and bad options. Saturated fats from meat and dairy tend to raise the level of cholesterol in your blood, give you a higher risk of stroke and heart disease and make you put on weight. On the other hand, unsalted nuts and seeds provide you with unsaturated fats that can actually aid your cholesterol level. These include linseed, avocado, olives peanuts and soy beans.

4. Cut back the salt

The Heart Foundation reckons, “Australians consume around nine grams of salt per day on average. We recommend you consume less than five grams a day.” So, on average, you could probably cut your salt intake by half to make your diet healthier.

5. Eat more calcium and vitamin D

The needs of seniors differ from younger people as we grow older and you need to make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D. You can get these through an increase in dark, leafy vegetables and canned fish, or take some supplements if recommended by your GP.

6. Drink right

It is very important to keep up your fluids. We might enjoy a juice or a cup of tea, but there is really no replacement for plain water. To keep yourself properly hydrated, it is recommended you drink at least 10 cups a day if you are male and about eight for females

We know most of these rules, but these days it can be easy to reach for a less nutritious option – to get takeaway, for example, or to just have some toast. But making sure your body has the right fuel is the best key to ageing well.