Nutrition and Wellness Programs that Promote Healthier Aging

By Teri Silver                Photos courtesy of Pexels

It may be hard to believe sometimes, but getting older is a blessing, even if we’re not in the best health. Nutrition and wellness programs can play an important part in promoting healthier aging. Finding the right foods, exercises, and social activities depends on the individual, but one thing that we all have in common is attitude. How do you want to spend your golden years?

Nutritious foods, good sleep, vitamin supplements, and easy exercise regimens give us more energy and optimism. Healthier aging starts with attitude—making the personal decision to do better for ourselves.

Here are some ways to get started on the path to attitude.


Eating properly can be a struggle, especially at this stage of the game. Perhaps cooking for only one or two is a senseless chore. But nevertheless, you should eat a balance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins every day. Healthy fats, fiber, and carbohydrates should always be on your plate.

The federal government offers nutritious foods to eligible seniors, ages 60 and older.  Here are a few to explore, especially if you’re on a fixed income:

    Eat Healthy

    Eating better is at the heart of healthy living. It emphasizes nutrient-rich foods, portion control, proper hydration, mindful eating, and more. Check out some basic nutritional tips:

        • Eat five servings of vegetables or fruit each day.

        • Proteins—meat, chicken, fish, beans, nuts, and the like—keep you from getting hungry between meals.

        • Cut down on processed foods. Stick to whole grain cereals, breads, and pastas.

        • Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, avocado, and coconut oil can lower cholesterol, improve brain function, and keep your heart pumping cleanly. 

        • Calcium strengthens bones. Eat dairy yogurt, milk, and cheese.

        • Drink water–lots of it. Dehydration may cause headaches, drowsiness, and confusion.  

      Mind Games

      As we age, maintaining mental acuity becomes increasingly important, and balancing relaxation and critical thinking is the key to promoting cognitive wellness. Living in a relaxed city, where you’re not constantly dealing with stressful situations, can be a valuable asset, and engaging in critical thinking activities helps us keep our minds sharp. Exercising our brains is just as important as exercising our bodies. 

      Some ways to stay mentally active include reading, word puzzles, board games, jigsaw puzzles, writing, and trivia challenges. Critical-thinking games like Scrabble, chess, bridge, and poker also put the brain into gear. 

      Get Social

      Talking to people is something we’ve done all our lives. But as we age, it’s easy to become shy and withdrawn. Get social by playing games, joining a quilting (knitting or crocheting) circle, book discussion group, or anything else that brings your personality alive.

      Bingo, euchre, pinochle, cribbage, and mahjong are all fun social games. You can also check with your area senior center for activities for people over 50.


      Retirement is a word people use when it’s time to quit the daily work grind, but it’s actually the beginning of a new life journey. Volunteer opportunities are available everywhere, and you’ll find a special purpose for your time. Helping other people is satisfying and productive. 

      Get Active

      In today’s world, you can find a fitness program with a tap on your cell phone. Virtual workout programs like chair yoga for seniors are one option. Remember, doing something is always better than doing nothing, and exercise encompasses many types of movement.

      Exercises for “old people” include swimming, yoga, Pilates, walking, and bodyweight training. Check out Silver Sneakers, an online or in-person fitness program for people 65 and older. 

      Healthy aging boils down to a few key ingredients: Eat properly, exercise, sleep well, avoid tobacco, see your doctor, know your family history, and pay attention to your brain’s cognitive ability. And the bottom line, healthy aging is all about attitude.

      About our author: Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on 5 acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees, and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.

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