As you get older, you may need different amounts of some crucial nutrients. By understanding your body’s changing nutritional needs, you can make dietary shifts that will help optimize your health.
Everyone at every age needs to eat healthy foods. From the moment you’re born until you take your last breath, the wide variety of nutrients in the foods you eat sustain your life, nourishing your body and supporting your health.
Although you require nutrient-rich foods throughout life, your nutrition needs actually change over time. For example, what nourishes you perfectly as a baby won’t meet all your needs as a teen.
Understanding your body’s changing needs for various nutrients is important because it’s the best way to be sure you’re optimizing your nutritional intake. It can also help you avoid food-related health issues such as nutritional deficiencies and excess weight gain.
If you want to eat the best diet for your age, the providers at NutriHealth Weight Loss, with offices in Georgetown, Milford and Middletown, Delaware, can give you personalized nutritional counseling to help you get the nutrients you need. In the meantime, they offer the following insights about some of the ways your nutritional needs change as you get older.
As adults age, they generally need fewer calories. This is because body functions such as metabolism and growth slow down. In addition, people tend to be less active as they age.
For example, the average calorie needs for women range from 2,000-2,400 calories per day at age 21-25, but decrease to 1,600-2,000 calories daily at ages 61 and over. If you don’t cut calories as you age, you risk gaining excess weight.
Adults must also be sure to eat enough protein as they age. It’s common for older adults, particularly those age 71 and older, not to eat adequate protein, which can lead to a decrease in muscle mass. To learn about some excellent sources of plant-based protein, read our recent blog.
As we get older, our bodies are less able to absorb vitamin B12. In addition, certain types of medication can interfere with B12 absorption. Getting enough vitamin B12 is important for the health of aging bones and blood, as well as your mental health.
Good plant sources of vitamin B12 include nutritional yeast, fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, and fortified soy foods such as tempeh.
Calcium and vitamin D
Your bones need calcium to stay strong and to ward off bone thinning. As you age, you not only need to be sure to get enough calcium, but you also need adequate amounts of vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium.
Your body manufactures vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. Vitamin D can also be found in plant-based foods such as mushrooms, fortified soy foods, and fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals.
Plant sources of calcium include fortified orange juice, fortified soy foods such as soymilk and tofu, soybeans, fortified whole-grain breakfast cereals, chia seeds, pinto beans, and leafy greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, and Chinese cabbage.
Nutritional care at every age
To make sure you’re getting the right nutrients for your age, talk with our providers. Schedule a personal consultation with our caring providers by making an appointment online or calling one of our two conveniently located offices.