Eating healthy foods is important, no matter what your age is. But, getting the nutrients your body needs and maintaining a healthy weight gets even more important for healthy aging.
As you move on to your 40’s, 50’s, 60s, 70s and beyond, your body changes and requires different things. To stay healthy throughout your life, you need to eat right and be physically active.
The food you eat is much more than just your body’s fuel and energy. Your diet, depending on the foods you choose, can help fight disease. It can also help keep you acting and looking younger.
Improving your health is in your hands and by eating healthy, you may even reduce your risk of diseases such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
There are many other diseases you can avoid as well. If you already have one of these conditions or another one, you can still make healthy choices to improve your health.
How you eat during your lifetime can absolutely play a role in how well you age. As men age, our nutrient needs change. And, if you start to experience things like lower libido, fatigue, weight gain, impaired cognitive function, weaker bones, poor mood, memory loss, good nutrition can play a role in combating these issues.
To promote good health as you get older, familiarize yourself with healthy food options, like these.
To maintain muscle mass you lose as you age, eat enough protein foods. However, don’t limit your protein to just animal foods like poultry, fish or lean meat. Add nuts and beans when possible. Try to have only 1/3 of your plate filled with animal based foods.
Men are usually bigger than women and have more muscle; therefore their bodies needs more calories. According to the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines, men who are moderately active should be consuming between 2,200 to 2,800 calories a day, depending on their age. The exact amount of energy your body needs will depend on your weight, height and activity level.
For weight management, energy and disease prevention, you should consume whole grains like:
- Whole-grain bread
- Brown rice
- Fruits and vegetables
These are high-fiber foods that just may help ward off certain types of cancer like colon or prostate cancer.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that may help prevent colorectal cancer. It can be either soluble or insoluble. When its soluble, it dissolves in water — it doesn’t if its insoluble. The Recommended Daily Allowance for men is 30g. To give you some perspective, a small serving of veggies is about 2g of Fiber. Sources of fiber may include barley, beans, oats and fruits and vegetables.
The benefits of a fiber-rich diet include:
- Lowers blood sugar levels
- Slows down digestion making you feel full longer
- Prevents cancer
- Lowers blood cholesterol levels
- Prevents constipation
- Dilutes harmful colon substances
- Protects the colon lining
Gradually increase your fiber foods. You want your body to slowly adjust to more fiber.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Older men require more calcium and Vitamin D to maintain healthy and strong bones. Foods high in calcium include:
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy (yogurt and milk)
- Fruit juices
- Fortified cereals
- Canned fish
- Dark green leafy vegetables
As an older man, you should include at least 3 servings of Vitamin D and calcium in your diet.
The American Institute for Cancer Research reports that when you eat more plant-based foods and fewer dairy foods and meats from animals, it helps prevent heart disease and cancer, promotes good digestion and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Strive to fill two-thirds of your plate with fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains at each meal.
Plant-based food contains certain substances known as “phytochemicals.” These compounds are natural and may help prevent the cell damage that could lead to cancer over time. Phytochemicals, along with minerals and vitamins, are essential for the health of your heart, brain and bones.
Healthy Food Shopping
When you go shopping for your food, make the right choices. Read the Nutrition Facts label to check for essential nutrients and see how much fat, calories and sodium each food product has. Your doctor may want you to add a dietary supplement to your healthy eating plan. A good Naturopathic Physician will know whether or not you need them.
Healthy Aging Nutrition Takeaway
You may be wondering if changing your diet and lifestyle can make a huge difference. Understand that when it comes to healthy age nutrition, it’s not all or nothing. Even small improvements in your diet can be much better than sticking with unhealthful habits and poor eating. It’s important to learn how to make the right lifestyle and eating choices so you can maintain a healthy weight and lower your risks of disease.
By making healthy nutritional choices, you can make a difference in how you age and your overall health and wellbeing as you get older. Put these tips into practice today to achieve more energy, better sleep, and an overall more healthy and vital “you”.