The Foods to Eat as You Age
A healthy food is a healthy food no matter what age you eat it, but as you get older it’s important to review your diet to ensure you’re getting enough of certain vital nutrients. There are no real surprises when it comes to the foods you should eat more of to get these nutrients – no one is ever going to suggest that eating more broccoli is a bad idea, for example – but here are some types of food you should make sure are on your menu as you age.
Colourful fruit and vegetables
As we get older the body struggles to absorb and use the vitamin and minerals we get from our diet as efficiently, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting boatloads of them. One of the best ways to do this is to smash the five a day goal and eat a range of different coloured fruit and veg, because the colours are good indication of the nutritional goodies they contain. Blueberries, carrots and any dark green veg are great places to start if you’re on the hunt for a range of important vitamins and minerals.
Recent studies have made clear the importance of eating enough fibre for people of all ages, with getting at least 25-29g of the stuff reducing the risk of several health problems including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Fibre’s importance only increases as you age, because digestive problems like constipation become more common, so eating a diet rich in wholegrains and other great sources of fibre like beans and pulses is a smart idea.
Given that we in the UK are hardly blessed with regular sunshine, making sure we get enough vitamin D is something that people of all ages should be careful of, but it’s even more important when we get older, because our bodies become less adept at absorbing vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium making it key for bone health.
Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D, but it’s also present in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, which has the added benefit of containing plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health. And if you opt for canned oily fish you’ll also boost your calcium intake due to the small bones it often contains.
Oily fish like salmon and mackerel contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for heart health.
Lean red meat
Iron is what you’re looking for here, so you can also get it from dark, leafy green vegetables and fortified foods if you’re a vegetarian or worried about the negative health effects of red meat, which is high in saturated fat.
A lack of iron can lead to a lack of energy, and ensuring you have enough in your diet also boosts your immune system and keeps your mind sharp.
Calcium-rich foods like milk, yoghurt and cheese are very important for older people, because your bone density decreases as you age and calcium helps to maintain healthy bones. This reduces the risk of suffering osteoporosis, which causes bones to become weaker and increase the risk that they will fracture or break.
Herbs and spices
There’s no direct health benefit to these, but as you get older you might well find your tastebuds lose a little of their sharpness, and one common response is to start adding more salt to your meals. Too much salt can increase blood pressure, so it’s savvy to instead raid the spice rack when you’re looking to ramp up the flavours in your meals. Or, if those around you have no objections, use extra garlic instead.
As you get older you might well find your tastebuds lose a little of their sharpness, so raid the spice rack when you’re looking to ramp up the flavours in your meals.