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The Building Blocks of Boomer Health

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(Family Features) - If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you're one of nearly 78 million Baby Boomers. Many Boomers are investing more time to learn about healthier food options as well as what they can do to improve overall health and wellness. So what can you do to improve your health and possibly even slow the aging process?

Mind, Body, Spirit

When it comes to a healthier lifestyle, mental and emotional attitudes can be just as important as diet and exercise. Activities that bring true satisfaction and help keep people energized and engaged are vital. Volunteering, continuing education and creative expression are some of the ways to stay active and improve quality of life.

In fact, a recent report found a significant correlation between volunteering and good health. The 2007 report called "The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research" (from the Corporation for National and Community Service) showed that volunteers have:

  • greater longevity
  • higher functional ability
  • lower rates of depression
  • less incidence of heart disease

Building Blocks of Nutrition

As we age, we have different nutritional needs. At least 36 percent of Boomers suffer from cardiovascular disease. As the metabolism slows down, it's possible to gain weight, even if your diet hasn't changed. Nutrition considerations for Boomers include:

  • Vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron, to help maintain healthy bones and improve brain function and boost energy.
  • Fiber to aid in digestion and weight loss, lower blood cholesterol levels and prevent some types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
  • Healthier fats - mono- and polyunsaturated fats - that have been proven to reduce "bad" LDL cholesterol and maintain or increase "good" HDL cholesterol levels, which has been associated with a reduction in the risk of heart disease.
  • Protein to build and maintain lean muscle mass and help you feel fuller longer.

How to Build Better Health

Moderation. A slowing metabolism requires an increased awareness of portion control. Registered dietitians (RDs) recommend eating smaller meals, and say that snacking in between meals can help maintain energy throughout the day.

Variety. Eat a wide assortment of foods that provide the nutrients we need more of, such as fiber and healthier fats, but less of the foods that contain saturated fat, sodium and other nutrients that recommendations advise us to limit.

Nutrient Rich. Choose foods that give you the "bang for your buck." For example, packed with protein, fiber, good fats and vitamins, nuts are an excellent example of a nutrient rich food.

Activity. Regular physical activity, whether higher intensity such as swimming or daily activities such as gardening, can help reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

As part of a healthier lifestyle, look for foods and snacks that are 100 percent natural. With more and more snacks available that are convenient, made with natural, simple ingredients and fit into a healthier eating plan, it's easy to incorporate them into your diet.

Nuts, for instance, continue to be a popular, healthier snack. Snacks such as Frito-Lay's TrueNorth nut snacks put a new spin on nuts through unique shapes, textures and tastes. This line offers a 100 percent natural, wholesome snacking option to satisfy the adventurous who have a mindful approach to life and wellness.

It's never too late to start improving health and making the most of life. By building on the basics of good nutrition, finding something to be passionate about and staying active, it's possible to build a better life, no matter what your age.

For more on TrueNorth snacks, visit www.truenorthsnacks.com.

Protein Power

You need protein at all stages of life, for a variety of bodily functions. It's the major component of all cells and is needed for growth, development and building a strong immune system to fight off infections. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 56 grams a day for men and 46 grams for women.

Healthier Snacking Tips

  • Include fiber and antioxidant rich foods to your diet. Eating whole grains, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds will help you achieve a healthier diet.
  • Pay attention to hunger. Ask yourself if you're really hungry or if you're just reaching for food out of emotion (such as boredom or sadness) or just to satisfy a craving.
  • Eat in moderation. Always check serving sizes on pre-packaged foods. Avoid eating out of a multi-serving bag. Always put the portion you plan to eat into a separate container and put the package away.

Nutty Snack Ideas

  • Sprinkle granola or TrueNorth Clusters on yogurt.
  • For good portion control, put one ounce of TrueNorth Crisps into individual baggies for ready-to-go snacks.

SOURCE: TrueNorth

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