The human body is amazing. Like any complex machine, it needs the right fuel and maintenance to function properly; which is where a good diet and lifestyle come in. It is important to take good care of ourselves and be sensitive to our body’s changing needs as we get older, to keep things running smoothly. So here are a few suggestions on how to adjust your diet accordingly.
Generally speaking, the older we get the slower our metabolism becomes – so we need fewer calories and less of certain foods to keep us going. As is the case throughout our lives we should also try not to consume too many foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat. Sticking to a clean, healthy diet and staying active should stand you in good stead.
Our bone density also decreases with age – especially in post-menopausal women. Vitamin D, calcium and phosphorous all contribute to bone health so consider adding more of these into your diet.
Foods high in calcium include dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, as well as green veg such as broccoli, kale and watercress. Phosphorous occurs naturally in most protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, nuts, beans and dairy.
Vitamin D is especially important because it helps the body to regulate calcium and phosphate In younger years, our skin is able to synthesise vitamin D from exposure to sunlight but becomes less efficient at doing so as we get older. Whilst certain foods such as egg yolks and liver contain small amounts of vitamin D, the best way to get enough is to take a daily supplement and enjoy the sun whenever you can.
A healthy gut is a happy gut and how it feels will affect your overall sense of wellbeing. Fibre helps to regulate the body’s digestive system by slowing things down and encouraging better absorption of all the right nutrients, whilst also aiding the proper elimination of waste. The knock-on effect of fibre-rich meals includes a steadier rise in blood sugar and a slower insulin response. This means more consistent energy levels with less spiking and crashing. Fibre is also great for the bowel and managing weight.
Fruits and vegetables with edible skins, seeds and stalks tend to be high in fibre. As are beans and pulses and anything whole grain. Adding fruits such as figs and prunes to breakfast cereal is an easy way to increase your intake first thing in the morning.
While the jury is still out on exactly which foods are directly connected to healthy brain function, we do know that it uses up a significant amount of our energy levels – up to 20% in fact.
Omega 3 is often referred to as good brain food which can be found in oily fish such as salmon and mackerel. B vitamins also support the healthy function of the nervous system, i.e. the brain, spinal chord and nerves.
Let’s not forget the importance of staying hydrated either as water is great for just about every bodily function and will help to keep all kinds of ailments at bay. A good amount to aim for is 2 – 3 litres per day.