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A Guide to Healthy Aging: It's All About Nutrition

Senior man eating an apple.

Maintaining a healthy diet and an active lifestyle is crucial for healthy aging. Not only does the body naturally evolve physically, mentally, and emotionally with age but also changes in nutrition requirements evolve too! From the day we are born, our body starts demanding essential nutrients which are typically received by consuming our mothers milk, which is high in many essential nutrients from vitamins, minerals, and growth hormones to protein and water. So it is not all that wild of a concept that nutrition requirements change in different stages of our life. Within this article, you will learn about the various essential vitamins and nutrients that are essential for older adults to age healthily.

A great example of how important a change in nutrition habits are for older adults is in seniors who develop osteoporosis and muscle loss with age due to low protein intake. Consuming more dietary protein increases muscle protein synthesis, which enhances lean muscle mass, strength, and function. It has also been scientifically proven that increasing dietary protein intake improves calcium levels throughout the body, the femoral neck (hip) bone mineral density, and decreases fracture risk. Considering the benefits, here are more important nutrients to jot down!

Brown eggs neatly scattered on a table and displayed in a bowl.

1. Calcium and Vitamin D

Seniors over 70 years old require more calcium and vitamin D to support bone health than when they were younger. Choose calcium-rich meals and beverages to achieve these requirements, and aim for three servings per day of low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Fortified plant-based beverages, dark green leafy vegetables, tinned fish with soft bones, such as sardines and anchovies, and fortified cereals and fruit juices are additional sources of calcium. Fatty fish, such as salmon, eggs, and fortified meals and drinks, are sources of vitamin D. Since the sun plays a big role in activating your consumed Vitamin D, you may opt in to taking a vitamin D supplement as well. There are great options available from gummies to liquid tinctures.

2. Vitamin B12

On occasion, older adults may find that their body is having trouble absorbing vitamin B12. This is an essential B vitamin found in fortified cereal, lean meat, fish, and shellfish that supports brain and nerve functions as well as creating red blood cells. Consult your physician, licensed dietitian or nutritionist to determine whether you need a vitamin B12 supplement.

Various small bowls filled with various legumes, seeds, and grains.

3. Dietary Fiber

Consuming dietary fiber may help lessen your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Consume more whole-grain cereals, bread, beans, peas, and lentils, as well as fruits and vegetables that include dietary fiber. You will also feel fuller for a lot longer when you consume a fiber-rich meal. Some types of fiber are digested by gut bacteria, while others just pass through the body. In essence, your body uses some types of fiber for energy while metabolizing others. Compared to sugars and processed carbs, complex carbs are a healthier option.

4. Potassium

Limiting your sodium intake while consuming enough potassium may help reduce your chances of developing high blood pressure. Potassium can be found in foods like beans, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Additionally, choose and prepare dishes with minimal to no salt added. If you’re looking for enhanced flavors, jazz up your meals with herbs and spices.

A basket of freshly picked avocados being help by a person.

5. Healthy Fats

An excessive intake of unhealthy fats can bring on obesity, high cholesterol, liver disease, and other health issues. However, not all fats are unhealthy. Olive oil is an example of an unprocessed lipid that is healthier than saturated fats. Saturated fats are found in animal products like beef, cheese, butter, cream and bacon. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats – primarily found in fish, nuts, seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils, should make up most of the fats you consume. To lower your risk of heart disease, choose foods low in saturated fat, such as fish, chicken, turkey, lentils, dried beans, peas and tofu.

A nutritious and balanced diet is essential for overall health in people of all ages. If you are interested in learning more about a diet that promotes healthy fats, whole-grains and leafy greens, head on over to our article about the Mediterranean diet. A change in your diet can help improve your long term health and it’s never too late to start!


If you want to read more senior lifestyle articles: click here! Or, find healthy recipes: here!

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