How Your Nutritional Needs Change as You Age

aging nutritional needsWhether you like it or not, your body is changing. Just as you have to adjust your activity level, your sleep habits and maybe even your clothing styles as you age, you also have to adjust what you eat.

The following are factors to consider in aging nutritional needs:

Fewer calories
At age 80, you need about 20 percent fewer calories than you did at age 30. Part is due to the fact that you’re probably moving around a lot less, but it’s also because your metabolism has slowed down. And because you’re eating fewer calories, you have to be extra-discriminating about them, making sure those calories are all nutrient-rich.

Water and fiber
As you age, your body produces less of the fluids needed by your digestive system to absorb important nutrients. It’s important to drink plenty of water and non-caffeinated beverages and eat foods high in water content, including melons, cucumbers and soups. In addition, make sure you get plenty of fiber in your diet, such as raw fruits and vegetables and whole grains, to prevent constipation, provide the nutrients you need, and reduce your risk of heart problems.

Healthy fats and protein
Skip the sugary or carb-laden snack and leave the trans and saturated fats on the grocery store shelf. Instead, get an energy boost and feel fuller longer with seeds, nuts, avocados, fatty fish and lean proteins like beans, eggs, chicken and fish.

As you get older, you body doesn’t absorb and process nutrients as well as it did in your youth. Even if you eat lots of nutrient-rich foods, you may need to supplement your diet with vitamins. In an upcoming post, we’ll tell you how these and other nutrients become more and more important as you age.

Tell us what changes you’ve made to your diet in the comments below!