As we get older, our bodies undergo changes that require us to adapt our habits and diet.
No matter how much you want to, you won’t be able to lead the same lifestyle in your 50s as you did in your 30s. You may notice you have less energy, certain foods affect you in a different way, or you don’t bounce back from a busy work week or night out the way you used to.
Aging is an inevitable part of life, but it doesn’t have to be all bad! By taking stock of our bodies cues and needs and adding in a little care, we can feel amazing and full of energy no matter what our age.
Ensuring we are getting optimal nutrition from our diet is one of the most important determinants of healthier ageing. Eating the right foods, and avoiding the wrong ones, can help reduce the risk of disease, and help us maintain optimal mental and physical health and vitality, ensuring a better quality of life.
In this blog post, we’ll explore practical strategies for adjusting your diet to embrace the different stages of life and promote lifelong wellbeing.
Prioritise Nutrient Dense foods
As we age, the emphasis shifts from quantity to quality. So it’s not about how much we eat, it’s what we eat! We actually need less calories as we get older, but what we eat needs to be full of nutrients.
Cook from scratch using fresh ingredients and focus on nutrient-dense foods such as colourful vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These foods provide essential vitamins and minerals while helping to manage calorie intake.
Hydration is Key
Dehydration risks increase with age. Aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day to support your digestion, circulation, and overall bodily functions. I always advise my clients to aim for at least two litres a day. The best way to keep track of this is to fill up your bottle and carry it with you at all times. Have it next to you at work so it’s always to hand, that way you can keep track of how much you are drinking.
Mindful Protein Intake
Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or meat-eater, protein is crucial for maintaining muscle mass and strength. Aim to incorporate lean protein sources with every meal as this will also help keep you fuller for longer, which avoids snacking.
Good sources of protein includes fish, poultry, beans, legumes, eggs and dairy.
Embrace Fibre for Digestive Health
Maintaining good digestive health and looking after your gut is essential as we get older. For one, it helps to prevent constipation which is a common concern among older adults. Include lots of dietary fibre such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. I would also recommended taking a good daily probiotic and increasing your intake of fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir and kombucha.
Nurture Bone Health
It’s estimated that women lose up to 10 per cent of their bone mass in the first five years after menopause. To reduce your risk of osteoporosis and maintain strong bones, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Include leafy greens, fish where you can eat the bones like sardines, nuts, tofu, fortified foods, and sources of vitamin D like fatty fish and eggs to support bone health.
Regular weight-bearing exercise is also recommended for strong bones.
Limit Added Sugars and Sodium
It’s time to look after your heart by reducing added sugars and sodium in your diet. One of the best ways to do this is to cook from scratch using fresh ingredients – that way you know how much salt and sugar is going into your food. If you do have to save time, opt for whole, minimally processed foods to manage blood pressure and promote overall cardiovascular wellness.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Heart and Brain Health
Omega-3 Fatty Acids can benefit in reducing the risk of cognitive decline as we get older. Incorporate sources of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds. These healthy fats have anti-inflammatory properties that benefit both heart and brain health.
Go for Balanced Meals and Mindful Portion Sizes
Smaller, balanced meals throughout the day can help you maintain your energy levels and prevent overeating. Like I mentioned above, make sure you have some protein at every meal and include healthy fats, and carbohydrates.
Our calorie needs are much less the older we get, and you might find you don’t need to eat as much, so aim to adjust your portion sizes to match your decreased calorie needs. Being mindful of portion control helps prevent overconsumption and supports weight management.
Address Health Conditions
You may find that individual health conditions may require specific dietary adjustments. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional or dietitian to create a personalised plan that addresses your unique needs. It could be you have to cut out certain foods or up your intake of others. A qualified nutritionist will be able to complete tests and recommend a diet which works for you.
Some medications can affect your appetite or nutrient absorption so you may have to adapt your diet if this is the case. It’s a good idea to discuss any dietary considerations and medication with your healthcare provider or qualified nutritionist if you have concerns.
Use it or Lose it!
Your body needs movement, your brain needs exercise – keeping up a physical and mental exercise regime is key if you want to stay fit in mind and body.
Find exercise you enjoy and can easily incorporate into your daily life and find new ways to stimulate and exercise your brain.
Take time for you!
It’s time to look at your lifestyle. Stress can really affect us as we get older, so addressing stressful areas in your life is key. Look at ways to reduce stress and add in some self-care, that might simply be walking in nature, or yoga or meditation – or spending quality time with loved ones. As women, we often think about everyone else’s needs before our own – now is the time to prioritise you!
Getting older is a gift in so many ways – it brings knowledge, wisdom and freedom and is a beautiful journey marked by change and growth. Adjusting your diet and lifestyle as you age is a proactive way to ensure you continue to support your body’s needs and promote overall wellness.
By prioritising nutrient-dense foods, staying hydrated, and making mindful choices, you can live life to the full, whatever stage you are at, while embracing the joy of lifelong vitality and health.
Remember, the journey is ongoing, and every thoughtful choice contributes to a life well-lived.
Get in touch to talk about how I can help you maximise your health and vitality. I work with women to take back control of their health, improve their fitness and feel amazing at every age.