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Recognizing Ethnic and Religious Traditions

Many older people have food consumption habits that are from familial and ethnic traditions, and these food habits may not mirror present-day dietary recommendations. Recognizing the importance of maintaining ethnic, religious, and other food patterns is very important, however. Redeveloping recipes for ethnic foods that may be more healthful has been a successful strategy.


The analyses of food and nutrient intakes by adults make it clear that special effort will be needed to both provide and encourage intake of more fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and whole grains while limiting exposure to and the consumption of foods high in sugar, solid fats, and sodium and of refined grains. Greater intake of fruit and vegetables will improve intake of vitamin C, carotenoids (dark green and orange vegetables), folate (dark green vegetables, oranges, and legumes), vitamin B6 (legumes and bananas), magnesium (legumes), potassium, and dietary fiber (most nonstarchy fruits and vegetables). Higher intakes of low-fat milk or yogurt will improve intakes of magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin B12, and, if fortified, vitamin D. Inclusion of fortified breakfast cereals will provide some crystalline vitamin B12. The inclusion of more whole grains will improve intakes of vitamin B6, magnesium, and dietary fiber.


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