Although there is an age-related change in diet when a baby stops eating from a bottle and moves on to something else, grownups barely think of changing their diet as they grow older. But with our appearance changing, our digestive system faces some changes as well. That’s when it is time to introduce some changes to your diet.
There are many factors which influence our dietary health and needs. Among them there are genetics, illness or even socioeconomic factor. Everything changes as we grow older – structure of our body, we lose muscle mass, gain water weight, and bone density changes. All of this requires a change in dietary needs, in order to have a healthy and often a longer life.
6 important dietary changes after 40
1. Lower caloric intake
Considering that our metabolism gets slower as we age, it is natural that taking in the same number of calories results in gaining weight.
According to the National Institute on Aging, a normal number of daily calorie intake for women over 50 should be 1,600 if they are not physically active, and 1,800 if they are somewhat active. If they live an active lifestyle, their intake should be 2,200. When it comes to men, this number should be between 2,000 and 2,800 based on their activities.
You should start eating foods that are nutrient dense. This way you will be full longer. For example, you have on one side a breakfast sandwich and hash browns from a fast food that have about 650 calories, and on the other side a half-cup of oatmeal, fresh blueberries, a hard-boiled egg and a half of large grapefruit, and all of that for only 300 calories. I’m sure you can see the difference between healthy and not.
2. Double-down on calcium
Our bones become weaker and less dense as we age. This is especially a problem for women after menopause. This can cause illnesses such as osteoporosis and debilitating injuries. According to some researches, calcium supplements may be able to slow osteoporosis. Also, exercising and strength trainings can keep bones strong,
3. Hydrate yourself
As we age, we don’t feel the thirst the way we used to. Also, our kidneys become less effective at retaining body fluids, so with the two of these combined, you could easily become dehydrated. But the point is, you still need those 2 liters of water a day. If you experience things such as headache or sleepiness, try having a glass of water, it may help more than lying down!
4. Prioritize fiber and water consumption
One more problem is our digestive system. It may slow down, which leads to less frequent bowel movements and even uncomfortable constipation. Not only this is uncomfortable and bad enough, it can also lead to having hemorrhoids and fecal impaction.
The Ways to avoid this: You can for starters change eating habits – eat more fruits, vegetable and whole grains, and increase water consumption. You should avoid medications, as they can worsen the situation.
5. Eat what you like
Another change that happens as we age is a change in our smell and taste. You may discover that you don’t like the same food anymore. But that’s okay; you can simply replace them with similarly healthy food. You could start trying new dishes, herbs as seasonings and stuff. You have to keep nourishing your body.
6. Pay attention to new food sensitivities
As the chemistry of your digestive system changes, you may experience some changes in tolerance of certain foods. For example, as we get older, our body produces less lactase which is responsible for digesting lactose in dairy products, so we could become lactose intolerant. You should keep a track of your body reactions after certain foods, and eat foods you’re comfortable with.
Our body starts changing right after we are born, and all of us have to be aware of that. Aging affects each one of us, and paying attention to it and our eating habits can keep us healthy and more comfortable. Don’t let aging keep you from doing the activities you enjoy!