Your mom always told you to eat your vegetables as a kid. When you’re young, your diet helps you grow big and strong. You may be older now, but your diet is just as important in keeping you strong and healthy.
Physical changes that can affect your diet
Our bodies change as we age, so we need to change how we take care of them. Know what to look for so you can adjust your diet accordingly.
· A slowing metabolism. Our metabolism slows as we age and our bodies need fewer calories each day. That means it’s easier to gain weight quickly. Make your food count with nutrient-packed meals and keep an eye on your calorie count for each day.
· Changing taste buds. Older taste buds lose sensitivity to salty and bitter tastes, making it increasingly likely that we’ll grab the salt shaker or veer towards sweet foods. Try other spices instead of salt, and grab sweet fruits and vegetables instead of cakes and cookies.
· Less efficient vitamin absorption. Not only do we tend to eat less food (because of our slower metabolism), our bodies absorb fewer vitamins and minerals from what we do eat. Vitamins D and B-12 are particularly important to counteract the effects of aging. Talk to your doctor about starting a supplement plan.
· Trouble staying hydrated. Between avoiding extra trips to the bathroom and medication that can have a diuretic affect, it gets trickier to stay hydrated. Too little water leads to a whole host of negative side effects, from confusion to urinary tract infections. Drink lots of water and eat water-rich foods like cucumber, watermelon, or grapes.
Diets to support your golden years
A good diet not only supports your health but is easy for you to maintain. The following diets are good places to start on your path to a healthier you. As with any lifestyle and dietary changes, always review a new diet with your doctor to make sure it’s the best fit for you.
· DASH Diet. Designed to lower blood pressure, the DASH diet emphasizes eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. The specialized eating plans will lower your salt and sugar intake while increasing vitamin and mineral consumption.
· TLC Diet. With the TLC diet, you’ll lower your levels of bad LDL cholesterol while increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol. The TLC diet is designed around foods with low saturated fat, which can fuel LDL cholesterol.
· Paleo Diet. Better known as “the caveman diet”, the Paleo diet is known for reducing high blood pressure. The Paleo diet eliminates processed carbohydrates and sugars in favor of lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables.
· Mediterranean Diet. The Mediterranean diet is one of the most well-known diets around. It is thought to lower the risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease thanks to the liberal use of olive oil. The diet’s main components include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fresh fish, and legumes.
Fuel up to live to the fullest
They say you are what you eat. How you fuel your body affects how you feel and what your body is capable of. Now that you’re in your golden years, take your mom’s advice and watch what you eat. Your mind and body will be glad you did.