Popeye, it seems, has been right all along. If you want to stay “strong to the finish,” you have to eat your spinach. Or at least some other types of protein-rich foods.
As we age, lean muscle mass begins to decline, but this trend can be significantly slowed with regular exercise and a generous amount of protein heavy meals. A recent study by Dr. Kelsey Mangano of Hebrew SeniorLife’s Institute for Aging Research has shown that older adults with considerably high protein intakes have more muscle mass and greater functional strength than those who consume less protein on average.
One thing not up for debate is that nutrition is an important part of overall good health. But that’s where agreement seems to end – at least according to reports in the media. Eat more protein; but all red meat is risky. Eggs send bad cholesterol levels through the roof; no wait, now it’s OK to eat them again. And recently, news about whether supplements, including calcium and vitamin D, protect us or actually cause harm has been fodder for headlines. So how do you parse the contradictory messages?
On October 28, Hebrew SeniorLife will host EngAGE, a fundraising event that will cue the conversation on how we think about aging. We’re excited to welcome celebrity nutritionist Keri Glassman, ABC News journalist Dan Harris, best-selling author Mitch Albom and humorist and journalist Mo Rocca to speak alongside HSL experts. We invite you to follow our EngAGE conversations through social media on the day of the event by searching on Twitter for #HSLEngAGE.
I had a chance to catch up with Keri Glassman, M.S., R.D. and HSL Institute for Aging Research scientist Shivani Sahni, Ph.D., to get a preview of what they’ll be talking about at EngAGE and learn some tips on seniors and nutrition.
The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology published cholesterol guidelines early in November aimed at preventing a first heart attack or stroke, which sparked controversy among researchers and has been heavily covered by media.
According to media reports, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston charged that the guidelines relied on old data and that the formula over-estimates cardiovascular risk in certain individuals, which can result in unnecessary, or over treatment.
With summer upon us, we tend to hear a great deal about healthy eating and getting in tip-top shape. There is no shortage of diets, drinks and pills being marketed, all promising slim waistlines for the summer season. But the truth is – healthy eating isn’t limited to a particular time of year. It’s a lifestyle and one that is incredibly important as we age.
One in ten seniors in America is at risk for hunger. And the senior hunger problem is only getting worse – the number of adults over age 50 who are at risk has increased 79% since 2001. Hunger at any age is a serious concern, but for seniors, a lack of nutritious food can have considerable impacts on health and independence.
As a staff geriatrician for Hebrew SeniorLife, I often tell my patients: “You’ve got to work on lowering your cholesterol number.” High cholesterol levels are widespread because we absorb cholesterol from certain foods we eat. Once absorbed into the bloodstream, cholesterol is broken down into LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol). While LDL can cause plaque buildup on artery walls, HDL helps reduce plaque. LDL can lead to cardiovascular problems and put you at risk for stroke and heart disease.
Food for our residents is more important than ever. Not only does it need to be nutritious, it needs to be tasty and appealing to the eye. Sal Filetti, Director of Food and Beverage at NewBridge on the Charles, took on the challenge of developing and implementing a “food philosophy” which will guide his department in meeting the needs and desires of NewBridge residents. I recently sat down with him for a quick Q and A on what this means: