As we celebrate a new birthday every year our bodies age even if our minds don’t, which means that it’s even more important to continue to maintain healthy eating and fitness habits, so we continue to feel our very best at every birthday and milestone. It’s normal to become less active with age, which means that the body doesn’t need as many calories. This doesn’t mean however that we should decrease the amount of nutrients and vitamins we get from our diets. For example, with age the daily recommended amount of calcium increases, which means you should eat more yogurt, cheese and low-fat milk. Healthy eating when you’re older is not significantly different from daily healthy habits at any age, you just need to be more conscious about the choices you are making to ensure you are giving your body the fuel and nutrients it needs to thrive. We strongly believe in preventative measures when it comes to anti-aging, and we’ve outlined some of the best foods to incorporate into your diet now and how to choose healthier meals as you age.
Healthy Diet for Older Adults
The basics of a healthy diet include lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, whole grains, low fat dairy, healthy fats and less salt. Make sure to include these choices to look and feel healthier:
- Water may not be a food, but it’s very important to continue to stay hydrated with age, even if you don’t feel thirsty. By drinking enough water your cells will stay plump and hydrated, you won’t suffer from chronic fatigue and headaches and you’ll be able to think clearly and tolerate heat better.
- Blueberries are the number one source of antioxidants and things like Vitamin E and C, and they’re delicious!
- Fiber comes from foods like vegetables, whole grains, fruits and legumes. This nutrient is essential to keeping your digestive system running smoothly to avoid issues like constipation, high cholesterol, inflammation and high blood pressure.
- Aim to consume at least two servings of fatty fish per week. You can opt for heart-healthy fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines that are very high in omega-3 fatty acids that are very good for you,
- Yogurt is a wonderful source of calcium and vitamin D. Bone loss tends to accelerate as you get older, so it’s very important to increase your intake of these vitamins and nutrients.
- Tomatoes, and other red colored veggies, are high in lycopene, which is a natural chemical that can prevent certain cancers. Cooked tomatoes found in juice or pasta sauce are a great source of lycopene as the cooking process helps to release more of the chemical.
- Nuts are full of unsaturated fats, fiber, protein and omega-3s, which are essential for heart healthy nutrition. Just be careful not to indulge too much as nuts tend to also be high in calories.
- If you enjoy a regular glass of red wine, then keep on doing that in moderation! Red wine may help lower bad cholesterol, prevent blood clots and ease your blood pressure.
- Unfortunately, your taste buds may slow down with age, which means that some foods may lose their flavor. Don’t be afraid to utilize various herbs and spices to kick the flavor up a notch!
- Be extra aware of food-related illnesses and throw out any food that might not be safe or has expired. Raw or undercooked foods like eggs, fish, shellfish, meat, poultry and unpasteurized dairy can be especially harmful for an older adult.
Making Healthy Choices as You Get Older
As your body changes, pay attention and listen to the cues. If you need to rest, don’t push yourself to get in an extra workout. If you feel full after a meal, don’t overindulge to the point of feeling sick. Keep in touch with your medical team and work with your primary physician to work out a custom diet, fitness plan and ask about the right vitamins and supplements that would be most beneficial for you. The first step towards optimum health at any age is to provide your body with the right nutrition so it can run well – like a well-oiled machine. If you start taking care of yourself at a young age and maintain your healthy habits throughout your lifetime you are sure to not only feel great, but also look great at any age. For more inspiration and information on how be your best self, and to follow along on diet trends and health tips take a look at our blog.