November 24, 2017   |    Blog, Health and Aging, Lifestyle

Promoting Health and Longevity Through Nutrition

Amanda Cusick,Wesbury/Sodexo Registered Dietician and Clinical Nutritional Manager, discusses nutritional choices with Wesbury resident, Charlotte Wells.

When Amanda Cusick received a desperate call from a staff member concerning the dietary needs of her husband who had been recently diagnosed with cancer, Amanda, the Wesbury/Sodexo* Registered Dietician and Clinical Nutritional Manager, was ready to provide assistance.  The cancer was causing severe digestive problems and weight loss, the staff member, an RN herself, was at a loss for what might help.  Amanda conducted an analysis of his food intake and provided guidance for nutritional supplementation that would benefit and assist with lessening the side effects brought on by the cancer. After the analysis, Amanda also encouraged a change to his diet; to try a bland diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, coupled with the addition of a daily multi-vitamin, gradually increasing his intake of fiber and additional fluids. Much to everyone’s relief, Amanda was proven correct when the digestive ailments subsided and he began regaining weight and resuming his activities of daily living as he once had before his diagnosis.

“I am happy to be a resource to the Wesbury community and help provide guidance in eating better and ultimately feeling better,” says Amanda.

When it comes to nutrition at Wesbury, she uses a quote by Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” Amanda feels that dieticians are often underutilized. People are often forced to meet with them once they have health challenges, when in reality, if they take the right nutritional steps throughout life, some dietary problems and restrictions can be avoided as we age.

Nutrition professionals like Amanda use food and nutrition to improve health, educate about disease prevention and promote longevity to those living at Wesbury and in our greater communities. We all want to live long, healthy, disease-free lives and healthy eating, managing our stress, exercising and other positive lifestyle habits will help us move towards that goal.

The following are a few recommendations by Amanda that can support health and longevity:

Water: Tried and Still True

Drinking plenty of fluids promotes cleansing, flushes toxins, ensures hydration, and helps maintain healthy skin, as well as looking and feeling younger. Additionally, adequate water intake reduces constipation and stress on the kidneys. If you are a senior whose thirst mechanism may have declined, set up reminders to drink up and stay hydrated!

Totally Nuts

Researchers have found the consumption of nuts five to six times a week can lead to a longer than average life expectancy. This could be due to the protective fatty acid, excellent mineral content, wealth of phytonutrients, or the impressive overall profile of nuts as a part of a healthy diet. While many worry about weight gain with nuts because they are high in fat, they have not been shown to contribute to weight gain when eaten in moderation.

Mediterranean Diet & More Plant-based Meals

The Mediterranean Diet is not only about eating fish and olive oil. It focuses on vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), fruits, nuts (walnuts especially), and whole grains. Swapping burgers for fish and striving for selecting more fruits and vegetables and less frequently selecting fried food and white-refined breads, can really make a difference.

Spice It Up

Many recent studies have focused on the health protective qualities of herbs and spices. Sage, oregano, turmeric, cloves, and cinnamon have all been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels in diabetics. Better blood sugar control means prolonged health and a lower risk of diabetes-related maladies.

 *Sodexo provides Dietary Management to Wesbury’s Grace Rehabilitation and Health Center.