Eating Well as You Age

As we age, eating well can improve mental acuteness, energy levels, and resistance to illness. A healthy diet can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be about dieting and sacrifice. Whatever your age, eating well should be all about fresh, tasty food, wholesome ingredients, and eating with friends and family.

Feed your body and mind

No matter your age or your previous eating habits, it’s never too late to change your diet and improve the way you think and feel. Improving your diet now can help you:

Live longer and stronger – Good nutrition boosts immunity, fights illness-causing toxins, keeps weight in check, and reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, and cancer.

Sharpen your mind – People who eat fruit, leafy veggies, and fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Antioxidant-rich green tea may also enhance memory and mental alertness as you age.

Feel better – Wholesome meals give you more energy and help you look better, resulting in a boost to your mood and self-esteem. It’s all connected—when your body feels good you feel happier inside and out.

Creating a healthy diet

The key to healthy eating is to focus on the whole, minimally processed food that your body needs as you age—food that is as close to its natural form as possible. Our bodies respond differently to different foods, depending on genetics and other health factors, so finding the healthy diet that works best for you may take some experimentation.

Fruit – Break the apple and banana rut and go for color-rich pickings like berries or melons. Aim for 2-3 servings a day.

Veggies – Choose antioxidant-rich dark, leafy greens, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli as well as colorful vegetables such as carrots and squash,. Try for 2-3 cups every day.

Calcium – Maintaining bone health as you age depends on adequate calcium intake to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults need 1,200 mg of calcium a day through servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. Non-dairy sources include tofu, broccoli, almonds, and kale.

Grains – Be smart with your carbs and choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and more fiber.

Healthy fats – Because fat is so dense in calories, a little can go a long way in making you feel full and keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Protein – Adults over 50 without kidney disease or diabetes need about 1 to 1.5 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of bodyweight (0.5 g of protein per lb. of body weight is close enough).