The Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (CFNI) is urging senior citizens to take charge of their health, by consuming a variety of nutritious foods, in adequate portions.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Nutritionist at the CFNI, Dr. Audrey Morris, said it is critical for senior citizens to eat healthy, because the older one gets, the more dependent the body is on the various nutrients.
She added that, in light of the many life-threatening diseases affecting older persons, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases, special emphasis should be placed on the types of food eaten, to lessen the likelihood of such conditions.
She stated that there is no one food that provides all the nutrients that the body requires, so eating from the five Caribbean food groups helps the body to function effectively. The food groups are: staples, legumes, food from animals, fruits, vegetables, and fats and oils.
According to Dr. Morris, healthy eating also involves proper storage and handling of food, to prevent food-borne illnesses that can seriously impact one’s health. “A clean surrounding is very crucial where one’s health is concerned. Importantly, all food that requires washing should be done with clean water, before it is eaten or cooked,” she stated.
Dr. Morris is also encouraging seniors to limit salt, fat and sugar intake, drink lots of fluids, and eat vegetables and fruits daily.
She pointed to the benefits of eating dark green leafy and yellow vegetables, which are considered more nutritious than other vegetables. These include callaloo, celery, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, pak choy, carrot and pumpkin.
She added that fruits grown in Jamaica, such as apples and guavas, are rich sources of vitamins, which contribute to a healthy diet, and should be consumed daily.
Dr. Morris is also imploring seniors to add value to their health, by exercising regularly.
She said that the Institute remains committed to sensitizing the public about the benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle, realizing the many life-threatening diseases affecting seniors in the Caribbean, especially Jamaica.
The CFNI, locatedon the campus of the University of West Indies (UWI) Mona, aims to attain food security, and achieve optimal nutritional health, for all people living in the Caribbean. It is a specialized centre of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO).
For further information, persons can contact the CFNI at 927-1540-1 or 927-1927.
By Jeneva Gordon, PRO