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Food, Diet and Active Retirement Lifestyles
A food desert is defined by the USDA:
“Food deserts are defined as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas. This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.”
You would think that there would be very few places in the United States that would be considered food deserts. But the last part of the USDA definition speaks volumes. A food desert is often found in communities that lack the availability of healthy, nutritious food.
Seniors are increasingly affected by poor diets. Their general health and well-being is determined by diet and that means quality of life can be strained. There are several reasons:
- Those on fixed incomes purchase foods that are the least expensive, opting for foods that are not necessarily healthful but filling.
- Effort required. Seniors also purchase many ready-made meals rather than cook from scratch. Cooking takes a great deal of planning and effort and when you are cooking for one, or even two, many say it just isn’t worth the effort. But the ready-made meals can be high in chemicals, salt, fat and other ingredients that don’t support good digestion and health.
- Waning senses. As people age, their sense of taste changes and their vision often deteriorates. When food doesn’t taste good, seniors don’t get “that craving” for yummy food. They settle for whatever is available and often that could be a bowl of cereal or a few crackers. The other concern is when seniors can’t see well, or taste is off, they could be eating foods that are spoiled or moldy.
- Digestive issues. Although adults often admonish children not to eat something because it will give them a tummy ache, it’s the adults, not the kids, who are more affected by foods. Dairy, raw vegetables, spicy foods, beans, we all have something that doesn’t sit well on our stomachs as we age. Seniors will remove those items from the grocery list and not replace them with a like product, but something that “goes down easy.”
Diet fuels the activity levels in all people, including seniors. When retirees have an active retirement lifestyle, you can believe that they also have a good, healthful diet. One of the reasons to reside in a retirement community like Westminster Village is that nutritious food is available in a variety of dishes and venues.
Living well, living healthy, in retirement means there needs to be a sound focus on diet and foods for seniors. Help those you love fill their diets with food that builds them up and keeps them active.
-Elaine of the Westminster Village Blog Team