Good Nutrition as You Age
The importance of healthy eating increases along with your age. As you grow older, your body requires more care and consideration. Lack of nutrition can lead to many age-related difficulties such as osteoporosis, heart conditions and cancer. Paying attention to what you’re consuming will help you avoid chronic illnesses. It’s never too late to begin making healthier decisions, and we have a guide to help you start.
Drink more water.
Dehydration increases with age since your sense of thirst is lessened. Not drinking enough water can lead to urinary and kidney problems, digestion issues and lack of mental clarity. Drinking water regularly will help avoid dehydration and its associated issues. The good news is you don’t need to drink copious amounts of water, but sipping from an easily accessible container will help get you into the habit.
Your appetite will decrease as you age, which makes it harder to consume the foods you need to stay healthy – or any foods at all. Your body produces less ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and more cholecystokinin and leptin (the fullness hormones). This can lead to unintentional weight loss, nutritional deficiencies and lack of mental clarity.
Aging affects the way your senses work, so it’s harder to smell and taste food the way you would have before. Naturally, your appetite is lessened, but you can and should act against the urge to push your plate away.
Instead of eating large quantities of food, try eating smaller portions at more regular intervals. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day will help you maintain the proper levels of nutrients and calories. Your mind and body will feel the difference.
Take your vitamins.
Growing older makes it more difficult for your body to produce the necessary amounts of vitamin B and D. Once you reach the age of 50, your body produces smaller amounts of gastric acid, which makes it more difficult to absorb vitamin B-12. Similarly, older skin is less efficient at processing vitamin D.
Vitamin B-12 works to keep blood and nerves healthy and prevents megaloblastic anemia, which makes people tired and weak. To avoid a B-12 deficiency, take supplements with food and incorporate B-12 rich foods into your diet. Common sources of B-12 include fish, milk, cheese, and eggs.
Vitamin D, on the other hand, is known for building and maintaining healthy bones. What you might not know is that it also works as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotector. Vitamin D is great at supporting your immune system, muscle function, and even regulates brain cell activity. You can take supplements for vitamin D or eat foods such as egg yolks, fatty fish (tuna, salmon), and fortified foods.
Being mindful now will help you feel healthier. Everything you put into your body has a direct impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Your body’s needs change as you grow older, and you have the power to give it everything it needs to stay happy.