Eating well doesn’t have to be hard or expensive for LGBT elders – it’s as easy as eating your rainbow!

At a June 14th Lunch & Learn workshop presented by the LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care, Tiana Matthews-Martinez, Chase Brexton’s nutritionist, will help elders understand which foods can boost their health, and which should be avoided.

We asked Tiana to share some tips for healthy eating and better nutrition.

What does it mean to “eat your rainbow” as a way to practice good nutrition?

Unfortunately this isn’t referring to Skittles or Lucky Charms. Think about the produce section of a grocery store – what do you see? You likely visualize lots of different colors. Did you know only 9% of the country eats the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables per day? That means the majority of people nationwide are missing out on these health-promoting powerhouses. By eating the rainbow, you are making a conscious decision to integrate more plant based foods into your diet. Come to the presentation to learn about the specific health benefits of each individual color and expand your palate by tasting a healthy version of the rainbow.

When it comes to nutrition, what pressures do LGBT elders face?

Many LGBT seniors suffer from multiple chronic conditions such as HIV, decreased bone density, cardiovascular disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, and cancers which occur for a number of different reasons. Often LGBT seniors smoke cigarettes, suffer with drug addiction at higher rates, and are on multiple medications, which can alter appetite, food absorption, and affect weight. As income often declines with older age, people often resort to lower cost and possibly lower-quality food. Additionally, cultural pressures within the LGBT community to attain a certain physical appearance may contribute to under/overeating disorders.

What are some of the best foods for older adults to consume?

Providing nutrition recommendations to older adults is complex because every person has a different profile of “best foods” that are appropriate for their individual needs. However, in general older adults should focus on consuming at least 64 ounces of unsweetened beverages to prevent dehydration, a variety of fruits and vegetables (especially those rich in Calcium, Folate, Vitamin C and Iron), low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean proteins to help maintain muscle mass, weight and immune function. Again, specific foods in each category may or may not be appropriate for you, so it’s important to schedule an individual consult with a dietitian to determine how to best meet your nutritional needs.

Can you share an easy, healthy meal recipe?

The healthiest foods are the simplest to prepare. With barbeque season approaching, plan to try some new vegetable recipes this summer. Try adding some rainbow veggie skewers on the grill to accompany the meat, and grilled corn for your Pride gatherings. Grab a skewer and add: cherry tomatoes, red bell peppers, orange bell peppers, yellow squash, yellow bell pepper, zucchini, green bell pepper, red onion, and small purple potatoes. Drizzle olive oil, garlic powder, and thyme on top before cooking for added flavor. You and your guests will love eating this rainbow! t

To get more nutrition tips, visit Chasebrexton.org/nutrition. Anyone interested in attending or receiving more information on this upcoming Lunch and Learn workshop may RSVP to lgbt@chasebrexton.org or call 410-837-2050 extension 1104.

About The LGBT Health Resource Center. t

Chase Brexton’s LGBT Health Resource Center provides access to expert health information and resources that will enhance wellness and quality of life. For more info, it’s ResourceCenter.lgbt

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