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11 Ways Your Nutritional Needs Change As You Age

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Ways Your Nutritional Needs Change As You Age
Ways Your Nutritional Needs Change As You Age


As you get older, it's not just your physical appearance that changes. Nutritional needs also change as the body ages to support these changes. Moreover, you will be more susceptible to disease as you turn old. Even if you have been a healthy dieter, the food you should have had in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, may not have all the nutrients you need today. Experts say that our diet needs to change as we get older. The way they change can surprise you. 

Without proper nutrition, quality of life, and health conditions can decline. Therefore, it is important to know what changes in the nutrients needed will occur with age.

How Nutritional Needs Changes As We Grow Older 

Following these eleven simple tips can help adults stay healthy in all stages of life. 

1. Need To Eat Fewer Calories. 

As you get older, your daily calorie needs will also decrease. Of course, this may not be the case for most active adults. But if you find that you are gaining weight in the same diet that you have always been following, or that you are not as hungry as you used to be, you may have to cut calories. 

If you are trying to lose weight in your 40s or 50s, you may have noticed this: You need fewer calories as you grow older. You are slower, you have less muscle, and your rate of weight loss is declining. 

2. Increase Protein Intake 

An increase in protein intake can help older people increase or maintain energy and vitality. Foods that contain the low-fat protein are important for maintaining muscle and bone as you age. In fact, the average adult will lose 3 – 8% of their muscle mass every 10 years after reaching the age of 30. Research shows that those who consume sufficient daily protein requirements will lose 40% less muscle mass compared to people who consume less protein. 

On the other hand, the need for fat, sugar, and salt must begin to be reduced from productive adulthood to old age. However, eating too much protein in processed meat products such as hot dogs, bacon and salami can increase the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. Change your protein sources instead of relying on red meat just by adding extra fish, beans, peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds to your diet. 

3. Need to Consume More Fiber 

No wonder the older you get, the more you need to pay attention to fiber needs to prevent digestive problems. A high-fiber diet can help keep digestive systems healthy as we grow older. As you grow older, your digestive system becomes less active, so it is important to include enough fiber in your diet. Fiber also serves to lower blood cholesterol that accumulates with age. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, improve the health of your skin, and help you lose weight.

Moreover, the older you are, the more susceptible you are to constipation. You have to eat more fiber. Constipation in the elderly is influenced by sedentary daily activities and the side effects of the drugs consumed. 

Women over 50 should aim to eat at least 21 grams of fiber a day, men over 50 at least 30 grams a day. Unfortunately, most of us do not even get half that. Fiber can be obtained from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. 

4. Need More Calcium for Healthy Bone 

As we age, the ability to absorb calcium minerals from food decreases. In addition, hormonal changes increase the excretion of calcium from the kidneys into the urine. Thus, the need for calcium must be increased. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis, especially when calcium intake is unstable. Preventing osteoporosis is important for older people - especially those at risk of falls.

Calcium levels may vary by age or health condition, but generally, adults should have about 1,000 mg a day, and if you are over 50 increase the dose to 1,200 mg daily. 

5. Need More Vitamin D 

As your age, your skin's ability to convert sunlight into vitamins diminishes. This condition will ultimately affect the body's ability to absorb vitamin D. Therefore, vitamin D intake must be increased. 

6. You May Need More Vitamin B12 

Vitamin B12 is important for making red blood cells and maintaining healthy brain and nerve function. Unfortunately, studies estimate that 10 – 30% of people aged 50 and over begin to experience the inability to absorb vitamin B12 from their diet. This condition is associated with decreased gastric acid production which results in reduced absorption of vitamin B12 from food. . After the age of 50, your stomach produces less acid, which makes it harder to absorb vitamin B-12. 

Get a recommended daily diet (2.4 mcg) of B12 in fortified food. Some people are recommended to take additional vitamin B12 supplements. 

7. Need More Magnesium 

As you get older, you are at risk for magnesium deficiency due to reduced intake, effects of drug use, and changes in bowel function. 

8. Choose Foods That Are Rich in Other Nutrients 

Just because you need fewer calories does not mean that you need fewer nutrients. Older adults need the same vitamins and minerals as anyone else (and they may even need certain nutrients). Older adults need higher intakes of micronutrients. Therefore, it is important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, fish, and lean meats as you age.

At the beginning of human life, the body really needs a high intake of vitamins and minerals to strengthen the immune system. As you get older, your nutritional needs increase and must be met such as higher carbohydrates and protein.

To get the same nutrients in a smaller diet, choose foods that are high in nutrients. For example, green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin D and fruits are high in vitamin C.

Vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish, and lean meats of protein and iron may be the best option to add other micro-nutrients to your diet.

9. Think Of Nutritional Supplements To Make Sure You Get Enough Certain Nutrients. 

It is very important to make sure you get enough B12, vitamin D, and calcium. Our bodies may not break down and absorb B12 from food easily, so older adults may need to take supplements. 

Similarly, vitamin D and calcium are essential to prevent bone loss. Many elderly Americans do not get enough of these essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor to see if you can benefit from the supplement. 

10. Eat A Healthy Diet For The Brain To Help Eliminate Alzheimer's. 

People who eat fruits, leafy vegetables, and fish, and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve concentration and reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Studies suggest that eating foods high in Omega-3 acids can help maintain healthy brain function as we grow older. To easily find more Omega-3s:

  • Include cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout in your diet
  • Sprinkle flax on top of Greek yogurt
  • You can eat a handful of walnuts

Antioxidants in green tea can also improve memory and mental alertness as you grow older. 

11. Drink Plenty Of Water. 

People of all ages should drink plenty of water. Nutritionists now recommend drinking half your body weight per ounce of water. Therefore, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water daily. 

As we grow older, we may not feel particularly thirsty. That’s why it’s important to set up reminders or develop habits that encourage us to stay hydrated. For example, you can keep a water bottle next to your favorite chair and take a few sips each time it comes to sit or drink it every time you change jobs. Regular sipping of water will help you to avoid urinary tract infections, constipation, and even confusion. 

Remember, too, that you can get water from other drinks and even food. Drink seltzer, herbal teas without caffeine, or add plain water to your favorite fruit.

Foods with high water content include:

  • Watermelon
  • Cucumbers
  • Lettuce
  • Berries 

Dealing with the Changing Needs of Food with Age 

Every season of life brings change and adjustment to your body. Understanding what is happening will help you manage your dietary and nutritional needs. 

Physical changes that can affect your eating habits as you age 

Metabolism: Every year over the age of 40, our metabolism slows down, and we often become less physically active. This makes it very important to adopt healthy eating habits and exercise to avoid weight gain.

Weaker Senses: Older adults tend to lose sensitivity to salty and spicy flavors first, so you may tend to add salt to your diet more often than before - even though older adults need less salt than younger people. Use herbs, spices, and healthy fats - such as olive oil - to make a nutritious meal instead of salt.

Medication and Illness: Some health problems or medications can adversely affect appetite or taste and can lead to older people consuming too much sugar or salt. Talk to your doctor.

Digestion: Due to the slower digestive system, it produces less saliva and stomach in your stomach as you grow older, making it more difficult for your body to process certain vitamins and minerals, such as B12, B6, and folic acid, needed to maintain mental alertness and good circulation. Increase your fiber intake and talk to your doctor about possible supplements.

Lifestyle changes can affect your eating habits as you age

Loneliness and Depression: For some, feeling down can trigger less eating, and for others, it can lead to overeating. Sharing food with others can be an effective remedy for loneliness. Connect with friends or neighbors - everyone loves home-cooked food and most old people who live alone are on the same boat as you. Be the one to reach out and break the ice.

Death or Divorce: If you are newly married, you may be unfamiliar with cooking or have little enthusiasm for preparing meals for just yourself. However, cooking your own food can help you control your health. The key to cooking your own meal is to get a few basic skills and become adept at making food that works for you directly.

Living On A Limited Budget: There might be financial constraints that may hamper your nutritional needs as you grow old. With the right tips and a little planning, you may be able to enjoy a healthy meal on the cheap. Often, just by avoiding processed and junk food, you can break free from your budget to enjoy healthier and quality food.

Overcome obstacles to good eating as you grow older

Let's face it – there are lots of reasons why we are having difficulty to have nutritious food every. Sometimes it is quick or easy to eat unhealthy foods. If you have trouble starting a healthy diet plan, these tips can help:

Boost a Low Appetite

Ask your doctor, if your loss of appetite is caused by medication, and if the medication or dose can be changed. Try natural ingredients such as olive oil, butter, vinegar, garlic, onion, ginger, and spices to increase your appetite.

Elders should consult with their physician to discuss their individual needs. Healthcare professionals can also help older people and their families create and implement healthy eating programs.

Stay Healthy In All Stages of Life

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