Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Food and Health

Nutrition plays an important role in preventing or managing many health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis. Food does not take the place of a doctor’s care or medication, but it can improve symptoms, and may even help decrease the amount of medication you need. Listed below are foods and their potential health benefits.

Fruits and Vegetables

These contain carbohydrates, which we all need for energy, but are especially important for those with diabetes. They also have fiber that helps control blood glucose and can improve heart health. Fruits and vegetables are a great source of cancer-fighting compounds and have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help aching joints.

Whole Grains

Whole grain foods are a source of fiber, which can help stabilize blood sugar and clear out cholesterol. Soluble fiber (the kind found in oats) is especially helpful for your heart.


Fish is a source of lean protein and healthful fats, which can help control blood glucose and also aid in recovery and weight management for those receiving cancer treatments. Omega 3 fatty acids, found in some fish such as salmon and tuna, can reduce swelling in joints and protect our hearts.

Nuts and Oils

These are great sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are good for our hearts and help lower cholesterol. Nuts and oils are a dense source of calories for those trying to gain or maintain weight. Some take a longer time to digest, which helps us feel fuller longer, and helps with blood sugar control.


Dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese are a good source of carbohydrates, calcium and protein. Nutrients found in these foods also help to prevent osteoporosis.

Did You Know?

To learn more about the role of nutrition in the prevention or management of a specific condition, visit these topics:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure