How many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches did you eat as a kid? How often did you come home from school and find peanut butter and crackers with a glass of cold milk as your after school snack? How many RC Colas have you drank topped off with a layer of salty peanuts?
Many of us associate peanuts and peanut butter with our childhood memories. As we become adults, sometimes we shy away from foods from our childhood. March is National Peanut Month so let’s take another look at this healthy nut.
Peanuts have more protein than any other nut. Protein can help keep our muscles and bones strong. Protein helps us “feel full” and can knock out that between meals hunger pains. Also, peanuts contain “good fats” so while they taste great, they are healthy.
So, in honor of National Peanut Month, take a hint from your childhood and jazz it up. How about a peanut pie? Have you tried a peanut butter smoothie? How about spicy peanuts as an afternoon snack? Go ahead and have some fun with this healthy nut.
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It’s no secret that eating healthy is probably a great life choice to make, no matter your age. But did you know that age does become a factor when selecting which healthy foods are consumed? Sodium, added sugars, and solid fats become items that need to be monitored more closely as we get older. You might be asking “Well then what should I be eating?”. That is what we are going to talk about today!
Nutrients to Know
There are five main food types that the body needs to stay healthy: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, and water.
- Proteins – Often called the building blocks of the body, good proteins include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Carbohydrates – These are broken into two categories: Simple and Complex. Simple carbs include fruits, vegetables, and milk products as well as honey and sugar. Complex carbs are in breads, cereals, pasta, rice, beans, peas, potatoes, and corn.
- Fats – These are broken down into four groups: Monounsaturated, Polyunsaturated, Saturated, and Trans fats. Monounsaturated fats are in canola, olive, peanut, and safflower oils as well as avocados, peanut butter, and some nuts/seeds. Polyunsaturated fats are found in corn, soybean, and flaxseed oil as well as in fatty fish, walnuts, and some seeds. Saturated fats are found in red meat, milk products like butter, palm oil, and coconut oil. Regular cheese, pizza, and grain or dairy based desserts are also a souce. Trans fats are found in stick margarine and vegetable shortening.
- Vitamins – These help the body grow as well as regulate it. There are 13 vitamins: C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate). These can be found in vitamins/vitamin supplements as well as in some foods.
- Minerals – These help the body function. Some important minerals include iodine, flouride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Eating a varied diet is the best way to ensure a healthy mineral intake.
- Water – Seems like a no-brainer, right? You would be surprised how often health problems can be traced back to dehydration. Research indicates that seniors are far more likely to experience adverse health effects from insufficient levels of fluid than younger adults. On average, seniors have 10% less fluid in their bodies compared to younger adults. To read more about staying hydrated, check out our blog post on that topic here!
Here we gave you just a small overview of ways to eat healthier as you age. If you want to learn more, visit the National Institute on Aging.
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