Nutrition as You Age:
Are You Getting All That You Should from Your Diet?
Of course, good nutrition is important at any age, but as you reach midlife and beyond, it becomes even more crucial. As you age, the right balance of nutrients can keep your energy levels up, help you resist illness, and improve your mental sharpness. Proper nutrition is also a key part of staying emotionally balanced and maintaining a positive outlook on life.
Thankfully, good nutrition isn’t all about sacrifice or following a strict diet. It’s actually more about eating a variety of fresh, whole foods and taking the right multivitamin to prevent nutrient deficiencies.
No matter what your age or your nutrition habits, it’s never too late to make positive changes. Here’s what you can do to improve your nutrition as you age plus why it’s worth it.
How Good Nutrition Can Help as You Age
Improved Quality of Life and Longevity
Along with staying active, taking a multivitamin, and eating a nutritious diet can help you stay more independent as you age. It will keep your immune system strong and help you fight off toxins to keep illness at bay. Good nutrition is also key for maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your blood pressure in check. It can also help to keep your bones strong and keep chronic illnesses like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease away.
Keeps Your Brain Sharp
Folks who prioritize fresh fruits and vegetables and green tea for antioxidants plus nuts and fish for healthy omega-3 fatty acids may be able to keep their brain sharper, enhance their memory, and improve their mental focus as they age. Good nutrition may also reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Boost Your Mood and Energy Levels
Fatigue and depression often become a problem as you age. But taking care of yourself by providing your body with the nutrients it needs can boost your mood and keep your energy levels up. And, when your body feels good, you’ll be happier and more positive in general.
Why You Need a Multivitamin
As we age and go through hormonal changes and menopause, our bodies need more of some nutrients and less of others.
For example, our stomachs make less gastric acid, so it becomes harder for us to absorb vitamin B 12, which is essential for healthy blood and nerves.
We also become less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, a strong immune system, and good mental health.
And, no matter how good your diet is, it’s very difficult to meet these increased demands through diet alone. The best multivitamin for a woman over 50 can fill in any nutritional gaps in your diet so that you don’t develop deficiencies that could affect your overall health, quality of life, and longevity.
Here are some things to consider when choosing a multivitamin:
- Our need for iron decreases as we approach and pass menopause. An extra dose of iron in your daily supplement is no longer needed and may even be harmful.
- A healthy gut is key for good mental and physical health, so make sure your daily supplement regimen includes probiotics. They’re key for a healthy immune system, good digestive health; plus, a healthy gut allows your body to absorb nutrition better from your diet and supplements.
- Natural and organic vitamins are better than synthetic ones. The body absorbs vitamins and minerals from natural sources much more efficiently. Synthetic forms can be hard on the kidneys and may be excreted in the urine before they can do any good.
How to Create a Healthy Diet as You Age
A healthy diet at any age starts by prioritizing minimally processed, whole foods. In other words, the foods you eat should be as close to their natural form as possible. That being said, everyone responds to foods differently, and some people have allergies, food sensitivities, and other dietary restrictions.
Finding what works best for you will be a process of trial and error. Here are some good starting points that you can adjust to suit your individual needs and preferences.
Eat a Wide Variety of Leafy Greens, Fresh Fruits, and Vegetables
An apple a day isn’t all that’s required to keep the doctor away. Prioritize a variety of colorful fruits and veggies in your diet to increase your intake of antioxidants. Berries, cantaloupe, leafy greens, carrots, broccoli, and squash are all smart choices to include in your diet regularly.
Get Plenty of Protein
Getting plenty of protein is important for most body functions as you age, including healing, fighting stress, and keeping your immune system strong. Try to include a variety of healthy protein sources in your diet each week, such as lean poultry, fish, legumes, nuts, seeds, and eggs. Keep red meat to a minimum.
Eat for Good Bone Health
Maintaining good bone health as you age is so important. Prioritizing calcium-rich foods in your diet can help to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis. Dairy products are an excellent source of calcium, but if you’re on a plant-based diet, kale, almonds, broccoli, and tofu are all rich in calcium, too.
Prioritize Healthy Fats
Some people believe all fats are bad, but that’s simply not the case. Healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, are crucial for protecting your body against disease, reducing pain and inflammation, and supporting your brain and moods. Olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds are all excellent healthy fat choices to include in your diet regularly.
Increase Your Fiber Intake
Fiber isn’t just for keeping you regular. Increasing your fiber intake lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. It also helps maintain a healthy weight. As you age, your digestive system becomes less efficient, but increasing your fiber intake can help it function better. Women over 50 should try to consume at least 21 grams of fiber every day from sources like fresh fruits and veggies, legumes, and whole grains.
Stick to Complex Carbs
Empty carbs are not your friend, especially as you age. They can lead to blood sugar spikes, energy crashes, fatigue, cravings, and overeating. Stick to whole grains that are rich in beneficial fiber and B vitamins.
The Bottom Line
Eating a healthy diet and taking the right multivitamin to optimize your nutrition as you age can improve your quality of life and longevity. Best of all, it’s never too late to change your nutrition habits. Making positive changes right now could help you have more energy, improve your moods, and keep sickness at bay.
Have questions about eating healthy as you age? Let me know in the comments at the bottom of this page.
Nicole has been obsessed with beauty and fashion since she was a young girl, always flipping through Vogue and stealing her mother’s cosmetics bag to experiment. She’s a former wedding makeup artist who loves spending her free time trying new products and staying up to date on the latest beauty and style trends. While Nicole’s days are now spent contributing to fashion, beauty, and lifestyle sites from home while raising her kids, she can still always be found putting looks together, even if it’s just for a trip to the grocery store!
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