Did you know that your nutritional needs change as you age? Let us take a quick look at this amazing but true fact. When a person is born they are fed by milk, either from the mother’s breast or formula, it is suggested by dietitians that an infant should solely be fed milk up until they reach the age of 6 months, then they can begin to eat pureed baby foods until around 7-9 months. Did you see that? Their needs changed as they grew, and the same concept continues all through life. Just like life, nutrition changes as we age, eating healthfully and remaining fit is an important part of Aging Gracefully, but many of us have no idea how to make the transition from one decade to the next.
Aging can bring a whole new set of adventures and with those adventures’ nutrition is one of them. When we are young and carefree, we eat whatever we want and find pleasure in doing so. As we age things change and that is where we can get into trouble. Today here at Restoring Bodies we wanted to give you some helpful tips on how to overcome some nutritional shortcomings during the aging process.
Tip # 1: Healthy Digestion
As we age the acids in our stomach that are utilized through the digestion process decrease, If you find that you have acid reflux, or heart burn, you could be eating too much. Your tummy may not be able to efficiently digest (breakdown) the contents in the stomach, therefore, causing you to regurgitate the remaining contents in order to complete the digestion process. Have smaller and more frequent meals instead of three large meals. This will ease the burden on the stomach and help you feel more comfortable after mealtime. Gone are the days when we could pile our plates high and not see the scale move.
Tip # 2: Key Nutrients
As we age our bodies begin to have different needs, remember the facts about an infant as they grow, well we have facts as we age, and one of those is nutrient intake. Aging can interfere with our ability to absorb key nutrients that keep our bodies strong and healthy. You want to ensure you are getting nutrients that maintain good bone health, allow for proper regeneration of cells and healing, and assist with good gut health. You want to ensure you include foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D, vitamin B12, fiber, potassium, and healthy fats. If you plan your meals that include foods such as, cereals fortified with vitamin D, dark leafy vegetables, eggs, lean meats and some fish, whole-grain breads, beans and peas, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, avocados, nuts and seeds. You will easily accomplish your nutrient intakes as you Age Gracefully.
Tip # 3: Exercise
That is right I said it, exercise. Nutrition and exercise are first cousins; they are in the same family when it comes to health and nutrition but have different parents. Exercise and an active lifestyle will help you lose a few pounds if needed and help with your ability to metabolize your nutrition. Movement is a key ingredient to Aging Gracefully, remember the commercial “A body in motion stays in motion”. This is a true statement, if you make movement an essential part of your daily routine; you will achieve the goal of Aging Gracefully. As always “Small Steps Lead to Big Results”, and “Don’t Just Age, Age Gracefully”.
Tammie S. Brown
Dietetic Intern at Samford University