Do you ever look back on some of your past fashion choices and wonder what you were thinking? Or have you recently rewatched an old favorite movie and nearly fallen asleep from boredom? Just like our taste in clothing and entertainment changes as we age, our nutritional needs change as well. After all, age and nutrition aren’t mutually exclusive. Learn how to give your body what it needs to carry you through some of the best days of your life.
Age and Nutrition
Protein, Calcium, and Fiber
Consuming a diet high in protein, calcium, and fiber will help your body thrive in its later years. Unfortunately, the average adult loses three to eight percent of his or her muscle mass each decade after age 30 (source). It’s important to consume sufficient amounts of protein to counteract lost muscle mass. Just as your muscles lose mass as you age, your bone mass can start to decrease as well. To prevent osteoporosis from harming your bones, make an effort to consume more calcium. Keep in mind that it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before making a significant change in your diet. For example, if you start to consume more calcium, it can affect your body’s ability to absorb iron, which is also a very important nutrient for the aging body (source).
Some seniors can benefit from consuming more fiber in order to keep their digestive health in check. If you find yourself moving less and dealing with unpleasant side effects of medications such as constipation, try taking a fiber supplement. In five studies, scientists found that dietary fiber helped stimulate bowel movements in people with constipation (source).
Reduced Need for Calories
As you age, you don’t need to consume as many calories. While it is true that you should aim to have an active lifestyle as a senior, you most likely won’t burn as many daily calories as a 75-year-old as you did as a 25-year-old. As your metabolism and energy levels slow down, the number of calories your body uses decreases as well, and your body will store extra calories as fat. To maintain a healthy weight as a senior, it’s more important than ever to consume whole, nutrient-dense foods. Think quality over quantity.
Despite your best efforts, you might not always be able to fit in all of your daily recommended nutrients. To help fill in the gaps of your changing age and nutrition needs, consult with your doctor about what supplements you should start taking. A daily vitamin tailored to your gender and age might be exactly what you need to regain lost energy. However, you should still try and get nutrients from food sources. So just because you take Omega 3 supplements, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make an effort to eat fish anymore. Eat a healthy, well-balanced, and diverse diet to ensure that you’re getting all the nutrients you need, and then consult with your doctor to decide if it would be worthwhile for you to also take a daily vitamin.
Some things never change. It’s always a good idea to fill your meals with vegetables, to stay hydrated, and to limit your intake of sugary sweets. Pay attention to the evolving needs of your body, however, so that you can give it the nourishment it needs.
At Springhouse Village, we’re committed to providing a friendly, healthy atmosphere where our residents can thrive in good health. By encouraging our residents to enjoy the benefits of shopping at local farmers markets, providing places where they can practice and share their hobbies, or creating continuing education opportunities by connecting with local schools, we are continually striving to help our residents prosper. To learn about the many things we do to support the health and well-being of our residents, contact Springhouse Village today.