As we get older (and, of course, wiser), a nutrient-dense diet becomes more important. “In general, we will need slightly fewer calories, but many of our needs remain the same as when we were younger and could consume more calories while maintaining our weight,” says Kristian Morey, RD, LDN, a Clinical Dietitian with the Nutrition and Diabetes Education program at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
If you are what you eat, you want to make sure you eat well throughout your lifetime to protect your health.
While the amount of food we eat as we age may remain somewhat stable, what doesn’t stay the same is how efficiently our bodies extract nutrients from those foods. As older adults, “we may be less efficient at absorbing some nutrients from our foods.
For example, individuals over the age of 50 have a higher need for vitamin D due to the skin’s reduced capacity to make it,” she continues, noting that we also can lose some ability to absorb certain nutrients like calcium and vitamin B12.
“Finally, some medications can interfere with the absorption or use of some nutrients—this is a concern with zinc, as a deficiency is common in older individuals,” she adds.
For more nutrition tips seniors should keep in mind, we asked registered dietitians to share the diet secrets we may not be aware of after we reach the age of 50.
Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
“Even as we age, we still need the same essential nutrients and vitamins you needed 50 years ago. It would be best to build a weight loss diet around fruits and vegetables because they are rich in fiber and water, which help cut weight,” says Kristen Fleming, MS, RD, CNSC, consultant for Better Me, a leading behavioral healthcare company, who recommends green smoothies if you’re not a huge fan of fruits and veggies.
Regularly consume protein.
When we get older, it’s important to zoom in on this macronutrient and ensure you’re getting enough of it. “According to a study, adults between ages 52-75 built muscles best after eating 1.5 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight every day,” says Fleming. “Dietitians recommend an intake between 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight for muscle building, which is about 109-154 grams for a 200-pound person.” Eat This Blog