Healthy eating is important at any age, but as we get older, it can become even more essential to avoid time at the doctor, lower the risk of chronic diseases, and make sure we’re getting enough of important nutrients. Check out our top nutrition tips for healthy aging below!
- Eat the right amount of calories. As you age, it’s really important to make sure you get enough energy by eating the right amount of calories. This can also be important if you are overweight to ensure you don’t gain too much. Women need to eat 1600-2000 calories depending on their activity level and men need to consume anywhere between 2,000-2,600 calories depending on their activity level. Talk to your doctor about what level is right for you, and make sure you’re not filling up on empty calories from junk food or sugary drinks.
- Have go-to recipes. It can be hard to eat healthy, and especially if you’re managing chronic conditions that require a certain diet, it can feel overwhelming trying to come up with a healthy dinner every night. It’s a good idea to have just a few go-to recipes that are simple and easy to make but still healthy. You want cooking a healthy meal at home to be nearly as easy as eating packaged food or takeout.
- Get lots of fiber. Fiber has many benefits including helping you live longer and stay healthy. It can also help with heart health, lowering cholesterol, blood sugar management, digestion, and helping you feel full. You can get fiber from whole grains, and lots of fruits and veggies.
- Add protein. Protein can prevent muscle loss, which is a big issue for seniors, but many seniors don’t get enough. Try to incorporate protein into your snacks and meals with meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, beans, and seeds.
- Focus on healthy fats. Healthy fats, like those in avocados and olive oil, help you to absorb important vitamins and minerals. They can also boost brain health and are good for your HDL or “good cholesterol” numbers. At the same time, you want to limit saturated fat which is food in things like butter, ice cream, fried foods, and other foods. These can have negative effects on your cholesterol and heart health.
- Get your B12. It can be more difficult to absorb vitamin B12 as you get older and this can cause you to have low energy levels. B12 is found in things like meat, eggs, and fish, and it is also fortified in some breakfast cereals. Just be sure to check the sugar content in cereals and try to pair it with things like fruit, nuts, and seeds for fiber and protein.
- Eat dark green veggies. Dark green veggies like kale, broccoli, bok choy, and others are full of calcium, which is an important mineral as you age. Calcium can boost your bone health and lower your risk of osteoporosis. It’s also important for muscle movement and blood circulation. You can also find calcium in milk, cheese, and yogurt, and sometimes it’s fortified in plant-based milks, cereals, and orange juice.
- Get enough vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to slow aging and can lower your risk of things like arthritis, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Vitamin K also helps your blood to clot and wounds to heal properly. You can get vitamin K from foods like broccoli, turnip greens, soybeans, pumpkin, and pine nuts.