There is so much conflicting advice online about what makes up a healthy diet, and as a result new customers often ask us what they should be eating. They’re often surprised when we ask for more information from them. I think they expected us to email over a ready-made, one-size-fits-all meal plan.
Of course, there’s no such thing.
But it sparked the inspiration for this post, where I focus on how our eating patterns should change as we get older.
In a brilliantly written article titled: “How Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age” they summarise:-
How Does Aging Affect Your Nutritional Needs?
Aging is linked to muscle loss, thinner skin and reduced stomach acid. Your ability to recognize hunger and thirst may also be reduced as you age.
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Needing Fewer Calories, but More Nutrients
Older adults generally need fewer calories. However, their nutrient needs are just as high or higher than when they were younger. That’s why eating nutrient-rich, whole foods becomes extremely important.
You Can Benefit From More Protein
Eating a protein-rich diet could help fight sarcopenia, the age-related loss of muscle and strength. Research shows you may get the most benefits if you combine a protein-rich diet with resistance exercise.
You May Benefit From More Fiber
Bowel-related issues, including constipation and diverticular disease, can occur as you age. You can help protect yourself by increasing your fiber intake.
You Need More Calcium and Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are important nutrients for maintaining optimal bone health. Your body stands to benefit from getting more calcium and vitamin D as you age.
You May Need More Vitamin B12
Aging increases the risk of a vitamin B12 deficiency. Older adults can especially benefit from taking a vitamin B12 supplement or consuming foods fortified with vitamin B12.
Other Nutrients That May Help You as You Age
Potassium, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids and iron are other nutrients you can benefit from as you get older.
You Are More Prone to Dehydration
Drinking an adequate amount of water is important as you age, as your body may become less able to recognize the signs of dehydration.
You May Struggle to Eat Enough Food
It’s common for elderly people to experience reduced appetite. If this issue isn’t addressed, it can lead to weight loss, nutritional deficiencies and poor health.
The Bottom Line
Aging is linked to changes that can make you prone to deficiencies in calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and several other important nutrients.
It may also reduce your ability to recognize sensations like hunger and thirst.
Luckily, you can take actions to prevent these deficiencies.
Make a conscious effort to stay on top of your water and food intake, eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods and consider taking a supplement.
All these actions can help you fight deficiencies and stay healthy as you get older.
And another helpful article on Men’s Health titled: “How Your Diet Should Change In Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s” combined with the previous article, to establish a foundation for a healthy eating blueprint.
They summarise as follows:
Let’s face it: you’re not the same person you were in your 20s. As you age, everything from your brain to your metabolism to your penis slows down. Your body is constantly changing over time, so the food you put on your plate should change with it.
With each passing decade, your risk of serious health problems spikes, and your diet plays a huge part in preventing common killers like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
YOUR 20S: CREATE A SOLID FOUNDATION
In your 20s, you should limit your intake of processed foods, like soda and packaged snacks. Added sugar should be next on the chopping block. Aim for balanced meals that include fruits and vegetables, good-for-you carbs like whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil and avocado.
YOUR 30S: EAT FOR YOUR HEART
Life takes a swing at you in your 30s. You’re busier and probably less active, which can tank your energy and metabolism, causing you to gain weight more easily. And the more fat you carry, the higher your blood pressure likely gets.
Eating more potassium-rich foods—like leafy greens, bananas, sweet potatoes, and beans—can help.
YOUR 40S: LOAD UP ON COLORFUL FOODS
Bump your fruit and vegetable intake. Aim for at least three or four servings of vegetables and two or three servings of fruit every day. sipping a smoothie every morning can sneak in two or three servings. Dark green, red, and orange vegetables like spinach, peppers, and sweet potatoes are top-notch disease fighters.
YOUR 50S: EMPHASIZE NUTRIENTS FOR YOUR BONES
As you age, you start to lose bone mass. That can be risky: your bones protect your heart, lungs, and brain from injury. Plus, bone diseases like osteoporosis can increase your risk of painful fractures.
To keep your bones healthy and strong, eat at least three servings of calcium-rich foods every day, like milk, yogurt, salmon, and leafy greens.
I can’t stress enough that you take time to educate yourself on your changing needs. And it all starts from as early an age as possible. So, wherever you are along the line, why not take an hour and learn what you should eat and why? Then plan out a week of meals and snacks. Don’t worry if you ‘get it wrong,’ and find you need to eat more or less.
Follow the same process for the next three weeks, and before you know it, you’ll have built a healthy food routine. It might take you a couple of hours the first few times.
Review your requirements every 6-12 months and after the first few weeks, it will take you about 20 minutes to plan your week. A small price to pay for a long and healthy life?
I’d love to hear how you get on in the comments below?