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Good Nutrition is the Best Medicine

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May 18, 2015

By Shannon Muhs
Registered Dietitian, Licensed Medical Nutrition Therapist

Good nutrition and regular physical activity can be the best form of preventative medicine. If you’re past the preventative stage, nutrients from healthy foods can be the best “medicine” for many ailments we are faced with today. Always aim for various fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats to get a variety of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that these foods provide. Also, take the time and effort to cook and eat at home – you’ll get better nutrition and spend less money on food. Think of it like this, if you don’t take the time and effort now to make healthy eating a priority, then you better plan to take the time (and money) later for illnesses and all of the expenses that go with them.

Use the activity level guide below to determine your senior’s calorie needs.

Daily Calorie Need for women over 50:

  • 1,600 calories a day if her level of physical activity is low (only performs activities associated with typical day-to-day life)
  • 1,800 calories daily if she is moderately active (walks the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)
  • 2,000 to 2,200 calories daily if she has an active lifestyle (walks the equivalent of more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour) (Source: NIH Senior Health)

Daily Calorie Need for men over 50:

  • 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day if his level of physical activity is low (only performs activities associated with typical day-to-day life)
  • 2,200 to 2,400 calories daily if he is moderately active (walks the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)
  • 2,400 to 2,800 calories daily if he has an active lifestyle (walks the equivalent of more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)

Check with your senior’s physician or registered dietitian nutritionist for a more detailed calorie need analysis. Or refer to this online tool to find out how many calories you need each day is at ChooseMyPlate.gov/MyPlate/index.aspx

To find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist near you go to EatRight.org and click on “find an expert” on the top right corner. Find a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist is the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ national referral service linking consumers, physicians, food manufacturers, distributors, and restaurant owners and managers with nutrition practitioners. Participants listed in this directory are food and nutrition practitioners who provide reliable, objective nutrition information, separate facts from fads, and translate the latest scientific findings into easy-to-understand nutrition information. Participants provide services on a fee-for-service basis.

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