When you were a teenager or in your early 20s, you may have sometimes heard adults say, “Enjoy eating that now because when you get older, you will not be able to.” Heck, maybe you are even that adult now!
At the time though, you may not have believed them. Well, fast forward a few decades and you may be wondering, how should I be eating as I get older? It is a great question that is often overlooked, so here are a few tips for eating and healthy aging. (These tips are good no matter how old you are).
#1 Calcium-Based Foods
Maintaining bone health is important as you age and depends largely on an adequate amount of calcium intake to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis. Look for a variety of foods that are naturally high in calcium like almonds, broccoli, cheese, kale, milk, tofu, and yogurt.
If you have trouble digesting dairy, but still enjoy an ice-cold glass of milk or a bowl of yogurt every now and then, look for plant-based options made from substitutes like almonds, rice, or soy that include a dose of added calcium. (Photo credit: Piotr_malczyk)
#2 Fresh Fruits and a Variety of Vegetables
Your body needs a variety of nutrients to function and perform at its best, so focus on eating an array of foods, especially fruits and vegetables. These foods contain antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins, all of which are essential to optimal health, especially as you age.
Shop for items such as dark leafy greens like kale or spinach and red-orange vegetables like carrots and tomatoes. Fresh fruits like apples, bananas, and berries are all great options as well. (Photo credit: Lisovskaya)
The best place to shop for all of these fresh produce items? The community farmers’ market. Whether it is summer or fall, the local farmers’ market always has delicious and nutritious finds.
Protein is considered the building block for life because every cell in the human body contains protein, which helps repair cells and makes new ones. The basic structure of a protein is composed of amino acids, which the body needs in large amounts to maintain good health. Even if you are not an Olympic athlete, protein is an important macronutrient that is essential for proper health and optimal nutrition no matter what your age.
Most of us grow up with the knowledge of meat proteins. To practice and maintain a plant-based diet, some good sources of plant-based protein can be found in beans, nuts, and quinoa. (Photo credit: 5PH)
#4 Quality Fats
Rather than trying to completely cut out fat from your diet altogether, focus on enjoying quality fats, such as omega-3s, which can help protect your body against disease and support your brain function and mood. Some great healthy fat options include avocados, avocado oil, olives, nuts and seeds as well as nut and seed butter.
#5 Whole Grains
Whole grains are a great source of fiber, which can help support gut health. Fiber is a carbohydrate that can be found in fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains. It is the part of the food that passes through the digestive system without breaking down or being digested. This is what makes fiber so great for gut health. Unfortunately, many of us are not getting an adequate amount of it.
The USDA recommends the daily amount of fiber for adults up to age 50 is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Women and men older than 50 should have 21 and 30 daily grams, respectively.
A great way to support gut health is to enjoy more sources of fiber. Think of foods like brown rice, oats, and whole wheat. A super simple yet delicious way to enjoy more whole grains is to whip up a homemade grain bowl.
Bonus Tip: It is also important to remember to stay hydrated no matter how old you are, but especially as you age. Proper hydration is part of a healthy diet and your thirst may even awaken more as you age. (Photo credit: Fascinadora)
Healthy Aging and Eating
Need more tips on eating and healthy aging? Check out the National Council on Aging. Remember to know all of the food groups and be sure to check out these ten foods that may help support healthy aging.
- Stay Healthy and Happy
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