Facts on How Your Diet Changes as You Age

Healthy eating should be an essential component of your routine if you want to live a happy and healthy life, but what exactly defines healthy eating? Filling up your plate with nutritious food can surely help you fight a lot of ailments that come with age, but it’s important to understand that not all food is as nutritious as you may think. Your body starts demanding a wider variety of nutrients as you age, especially if you have a genetic predisposition to certain diseases like heart disease or Alzheimer’s. If you’d like to learn more facts about how your diet changes as you grow older, here’s what you need to know.

Taste Bud Desensitization

According to the US National Library of Medicine, the average human is born with around 10,000 taste-buds in their mouth. Sadly, as we age, taste buds start slowly dying, leaving you with a less sensitive tongue as the nerves start deteriorating. The salty and bitter tastes are the first to go, which can make you much more prone to salt your foods. This is where you have to pay extra attention to any increases in the salt. If you are older than 50, you are probably putting more salt than you need because you can’t properly taste it. The same goes for sugary tastes as well, which can make you indulge in unhealthy eating habits that can put a strain on your body.

Increasing Protein & Fiber Intake

Protein and fiber are very important nutrients; their importance isn’t exclusive to old or young individuals, but rather the whole population. There is a noticeable decline in digestive performance in older individuals, which means that you will need fibers more than usual as you age to ensure that your digestive system doesn’t fail. As mentioned on, the intake of these nutrients is often planned in coordination with dietitians in aged care facilities to ensure the residents’ wellbeing. Protein intake is usually increased in a senior’s diet to provide them with the extra energy they need for daily activities. A diet that is full of both nutrients can help individuals maintain a healthy balance as they age.

Fewer Calories & More Nutrients

Understandably, our bodies become less consuming of energy as we age, especially when you consider the decline in physical activity that comes with age. It’s not uncommon to find your calorie-intake requirements constantly decreasing, but that doesn’t mean that you should just eat less. The key to creating a balanced and healthy lifestyle is to increase the dose of nutrients that your body gets, in addition to adding a lot more variety to the roster. If you have been maintaining a certain calorie intake throughout your younger years, you might want to reevaluate because it can end up giving unnecessary calories, adding on weight. This happens most frequently with postmenopausal women as the estrogen production becomes lower, making them prone to gain weight around the belly area.

Calcium & Vitamin D

Bone health is highly reliant on both calcium and vitamin D. One of the most noticeable negative effects of aging is the reduction in bone strength and overall health. As a nutrient, calcium is responsible for maintaining bone health and its rebuilding process. It works hand-in-hand with vitamin D, which is a catalyst that allows the body to absorb calcium more efficiently. As we become seniors, our guts become less reliable when it comes to calcium absorption. The culprit in most of the cases is the lack of vitamin D. The body’s ability to produce the nutrient from sunlight becomes weakened as the skin becomes thinner. You can use both foods and supplements to boost the production of vitamin D while increasing your calcium intake. The meals you eat should include fish, dairy, and green vegetables if you want to bring as much variety to the table.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a unique vitamin that is water-soluble, referred to as cobalamin as well. It is responsible for vital body functions like the creation of red blood cells and the maintenance of proper brain function. Unfortunately, aging can hinder the body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food. A lot of seniors have a vitamin B12 deficiency, especially when it is not noticed early enough. The culprit, in this case, is the weakened stomach acid production that comes with age. It is advisable to take supplements or eat foods rich in vitamin B12 like fish, eggs, meat, and poultry.

There is no such thing as a life-long diet that can handle the body’s ever-changing requirements. As our bodies age, we may need to adopt different diet routines and eating habits in order to stay healthy. It’s always recommended to keep a close eye on your nutritious requirements to keep your body supplied with what it needs over the years.

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