A healthy diet becomes important as you age. This is because your growing body undergoes a variety of changes and requires proper nutrition. Consuming nutrient-rich foods and taking the proper supplements can help prevent nutritional deficiencies, poor quality of life and poor health outcomes. Eating healthy becomes especially important as you age.
This article explains how your nutritional needs change as you age and how to address them.
Aging and Increased Nutritional Needs
Aging brings with it a variety of body changes, including thin skin and loss of muscle mass. Some of these changes caused by aging can result in nutritional deficiencies and can affect the quality of your life. Moreover, the amount of stomach acid reduces as you age. This results in less absorption of nutrients, particularly calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin B12.
Additionally, people may experience another issue as they age which includes reduces perception of senses such as hunger and thirst. This can make a person dehydrated and result in unintentional weight loss.
Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age
To add further, people require fewer calories but more nutrients as they age. This is because older adults require less calories since they tend to move and exercise less as compared to younger, active individuals. If older adults continue to consume the same amount of calories that they did when they were younger, then it would lead to gaining of extra fat, especially belly fat.
Postmenopausal women, in specific, may develop belly fat as the levels of estrogen declines within their bodies.
Older adults should consume a variety of whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean meat and fish, to attain their nutritional energy and fight the nutritional deficiencies.
Main Nutrients to Support Healthy Aging
You lose muscle strength as you age. This process is known as sarcopenia. This results in weakness, fractures and poor health among the elderly.
This is where proteins come into play. Eating more protein-rich diet and taking protein supplements slows the rate of muscle loss and in turn helps build more muscle.
Eating fiber helps relieve constipation which is a major problem in older adults. Fiber can be helpful because medications for constipation treatment may not be well tolerated by older adults.
- Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones. The bone cells, termed as osteoclasts tend to break down bone and osteoblasts, another kind of bone cells increase bone mass. Studies reveal that the activity of osteoblasts decreases as you age, thereby reducing bone mass. This is where vitamin D helps.
Robinson, A. P. (2015, June 27). An overview of appetite decline in older people. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4589891/
Kuzuya, H. S. (1993, July 30). [Aging, basal metabolic rate, and nutrition]. Retrieved from National Library of Medicine: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8361073/
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Nouha is a passionate journalist and a beauty lover with valuable knowledge in the health and wellness industry. Nouha worked closely with nurses and doctors treating patients with diabetes, sleeping disorder and anxiety. Nouha is currently studying to become a nurse at the University of Glasgow, Scotland.