We all age, we all get older, it’s something, god willing we all will go through. It’s no longer a taboo subject… getting old. What do they say.. “50 is the new 30” well that’s how I’m going to look at it! It use to be something that no one wanted to discuss or talk about. These days it’s much more open and progressive, people are taking responsibility for their health and wellbeing. There are things we can do to be more proactive in our aging process and make sure we are all getting the vital nutrients in our diet to keep us healthy, mobile and improve our bodies from the inside out
1.Calcium - You need to keep your skeletal system strong it’s what supports our whole wellbeing. Being deficient in calcium can contribute to numerous issues such as, abnormal heart rhythms, increased risk of fractures/ weaker bones, uncomfortable tingling in the hands. When you get older your body does not metabolize calcium like it use to, this is especially true in women.
Eating a diet healthy in calcium will help. That doesn’t just mean milk and cheese products, almond, cashew and coconut milk all have good calcium, not to mention leafy greens (kale, spinach, bok choy and turnips). So load up your salads!
2. Protein - Protein is necessary to help you maintain your muscle, maintaining your muscle keeps you moving. The right balance of protein (25% of your plate) can assist with the reduction of heart disease and high blood pressure. Some good protein to partake in is chicken, eggs (hard boiled, egg whites), seafood, almonds/nuts, beans, tofu and lean meats. Quinoa is also a great source of protein and wonderful in salads! So toss some in with those leafy greens!
3. Vitamin D - Did you know your body does not make its own Vitamin D? Where can you get one of your best sources of Vitamin D? Right in the great outdoors under the glorious sun. When our mobility gets diminished or when we sit all day inside working at our jobs we lose out on a lot of “free” vitamin D.
That’s why its so important to make sure we are consuming enough vitamin D thorough our diet. Hypertension, osteoporosis, and cognitive decline are all troubling conditions that can be worsened with Vitamin D deficiencies. So get outdoors whenever you can!
4.Healthy Fats - When your metabolism begins to slow down, healthy fats become even more important. They help to lower the risk of disease and protect your heart. They may even help to protect against strokes. You are looking for foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Some good examples are seeds, avocados, fish and nuts. Olive, sunflower and canola oils are also beneficial.
5. B6 - As you reach middle age your body no longer absorbs B6 as well as it once did. B6 is fantastic for boosting you immune system and helps with the function of your central nervous system. Maintaining a healthy amount of B6 is a must. Good sources of B6 are fish, chicken, tofu, pork, beef, sweet potatoes, bananas, potatoes, avocados, and pistachios.
6. B12 - Did you know that B12 helps in the formation of red blood cells? Being deficient in B12 can create brain fog and fatigue. The best way to get your B12 is through animal products (meat, eggs and fish). Because of this vegetarians and vegans are often deficient in B12 (you veggies can get some of your B12 through nutritional yeast and tempeh). B12 deficiency can interfere with normal every day life, it’s an important nutrient for your body.
7. Potassium - Eat your bananas, beans, avocados, winter squash and greens! Potassium helps reduce those annoying muscle aches, osteoporosis and stroke. It also lowers your risk of kidney disease. Potassium regulates multiple body parts from nervous system to your brain.
8. Magnesium - Another nutrient that declines with age is magnesium. That being said its crucial to integrate magnesium into you diet. It helps to combat migraines, mental health concerns, heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Fatty fish, whole grains and greens with a fair share of nuts and seeds will help you to meet your magnesium quota.
9. Folate - We all know how important it is for when you are thinking of having a family. It’s just as important later on in life as it could help lower your risk of Alzheimer's. Folate helps to keep your nervous system powering up properly. Broccoli, brussel sprouts, asparagus, beets and citrus fruits are all good sources of folate.
10. Fiber - Super important for maintaining bowel health, not to mention it helps to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol. A diet high in fiber will also helps to reduce your risk of hemorrhoids. Some fiber rich foods are berries, apples, nuts, broccoli, whole grains and beans.
As you can see a well balanced diet is key to helping you achieve all the vital nutrients your body needs as you mature. It’s even more important as we age to take the time to make healthy choices and to stay active. If you have concerns that you may not be getting enough of any one of these vital nutrients or feel your intake is too low, consult your family Dr for recommendations.
References Adapted By:
10 Foods That Support Healthy Aging: NorthShore Weight and Metabolism: Endocrinology. (n.d.). 10 Foods That Support Healthy Aging: NorthShore Weight and Metabolism: Endocrinology. https://www.northshoreweightandmetabolism.com/blog/10-foods-that-support-healthy-aging
9 Nutrients You Need More of As You Get Older. (2023, April 10). AARP. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2023/essential-nutrients-for-healthy-aging.html
Ten Tips for Healthy Aging - Unlock Food. (2022, May 16). Ten Tips for Healthy Aging - Unlock Food. https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Seniors-nutrition/Ten-Tips-for-Healthy-Aging.
Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin B6. (2023, May 8). Myfooddata. https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/foods-high-in-vitamin-B6.php