Honey, I shrunk myself!
Getting older can mean getting shorter. On average men will lose about 1.5 inches, whereas women can lose as much as 2 inches of height by the time they’re 70 years old.
Luckily, by understanding the connection between nutrition and aging, you can change your diet to protect your height. For instance, eating calcium-rich foods, along with vitamin D, helps keep your vertebrae big and strong. Whereas, calcium deficiencies cause your vertebrae to thin, ultimately making you shorter.
To help you prepare for what lies ahead, we’ve created this guide about healthy eating choices for aging adults. We’ll review what happens to your body as you get older, as well as what you can do about it!
Are you ready to age powerfully? Read on to learn the best nutrition tips to promote healthy aging.
Your Metabolism Changes as You Get Older
First, let’s look at how your metabolism changes with age. Your metabolism is the number of calories or energy, your body uses to break down the food.
As you get older, the rate at which your body breaks down food decreases. A slower metabolism means it’s easier to gain weight, the older you get. To help yourself maintain a healthy weight, you’ll have to focus on eating a low-sugar diet.
Low-Sugar Food Options
Reducing or eliminating refined sugars is hands down one of the most important things you can do when it comes to nutrition and aging. However, cutting sugar out of your diet can be tricky, and even emotional!
Here are some foods to help you curb your sugar cravings:
- Sweet potatoes
- Sugar-free chewing gum
In addition to the list above, you can also use healthy fruit smoothies as an alternative to eating a bowl of ice cream.
How Bladders Change With Age
Moving on, it’s normal for your bladder to change and become less stretchy as you age. As a result, it can be difficult to hold the same amount of urine as you used to.
It’s also possible that your pelvic floor muscles and bladder wall will become weaker, which can cause urine leaks. Urinary incontinence is more common in women than it is in men.
Foods That Irritate Your Bladder
To have the best urinary health possible, you’ll want to avoid foods that are notorious for irritating your bladder. Here’s a list of foods you should cut down on or avoid altogether:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Citrus fruits
- Tomato-based products
If you can’t imagine living without caffeine, consider using maca as an energy booster.
Changes in Sexual Performance and Needs
Both men and women can experience changes in their sexual performance and needs as they grow older. It’s not uncommon for aging men to experience a drop in testosterone which can cause their libido and performance to decline. Talking to your doctor about testosterone replacement therapies can be helpful.
For women, aging can cause a drop in estrogen levels, causing a decrease in sexual arousal, along with emotional changes. As an aging woman, it’s a good idea to check out the best rejuvenation clinic, to look into ways to restore balance within your body.
Foods That Can Increase Your Libido
What aphrodisiac foods can help seniors boost their sex drive? Here are a few foods that can help you reignite the passion:
- Indian ginseng
Since nuts are high in calories and fat, make sure you consume them in moderation.
How Aging Impacts Your Brain
The older you get, the smaller your brain becomes. Specifically, the frontal cortex in your brain starts to shrink. As your brain becomes smaller, the risk of stroke rises. An aging brain may also start to experience a variety of memory problems.
When it comes to nutrition and aging brains, it’s important to eat foods that protect your blood vessels. Leafy greens, like collards, broccoli, and kale are a great start. Dark leafy greens are also rich in brain-friendly nutrients like lutein, beta carotene, and vitamin K.
What Happens To Your Teeth as You Age?
As you get older, your teeth begin to wear down. It’s also common for aging to cause your mouth to be drier than it used to be. Having a dry mouth increases your chances of having tooth decay since there isn’t enough saliva to fight off the bad bacteria.
Healthy Aging Tips To Protect Your Smile
To protect your smile, start by cutting out processed foods, especially if they contain a lot of sugar. Next, start eating cheese more often.
Chewing cheese increases your saliva, and it contains proteins and calcium which help strengthen the enamel on your teeth. However, make sure you don’t overdo it on the cheese since it’s high in fat.
Why Do Aging People Experience Constipation?
While constipation is more common as you get older, there’s a lot you can do to prevent it from happening to you.
Here’s a list of reasons elderly people get constipated:
- Certain prescriptions
- Poor diet
- Lack of proper fluids
When your diet’s lacking in fibrous foods, constipation is more likely to occur.
Aging and Nutritional Requirements To Avoid Constipation
Did you know that fruits can be a wonderful source of fiber? For instance, bananas, pears, raspberries, oranges, and strawberries all have a ton of fiber. Next, start incorporating fiber-friendly vegetables into your daily diet.
Green peas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, and turnip greens are all high in fiber. Finally, upping your water intake by drinking 8 cups a day can also help keep constipation at bay.
Age-Related Muscle Loss
Have you heard of sarcopenia? Sarcopenia is a medical term used to describe age-related muscle loss. While it’s normal to lose muscle mass with age, if your diet isn’t healthy, the decline can be more extreme.
Losing muscle strength can make everyday tasks, like opening a jar of jelly, seem impossible! Sarcopenia can also put you at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Why?
Your muscle tissues are responsible for helping regulate your blood sugar. The less muscle tissue you have, the more difficult it becomes for your body to keep your sugar levels balanced.
Foods That Keep Your Muscles Strong
Don’t worry! There are foods you can start eating today to preserve your muscles, while also reversing muscle loss that’s already happened.
Here’s a list of foods to keep your muscles strong:
- High-quality protein
- Omega 3 fats
- Vitamin D rich foods
Examples of high-quality protein include things like edamame, lean meat, tofu, and greek yogurt. Next, stock up on omega 3 fats by eating foods like flaxseeds, walnuts, and salmon.
Finally, consider asking your doctor to do a vitamin D blood test. If you have a deficiency, taking vitamin D supplements could be your best option.
How Aging Affects Arteries and Blood Vessels
Moving on, a big part of healthy aging involves paying attention to your cardiovascular system. Your body has 3 types of blood vessels and they are veins, capillaries, and arteries.
Aging can cause arterial stiffening because the connective tissue of the blood vessel wall changes. Left unchecked, stiffened arteries can cause cardiovascular disease and even heart failure.
Heart-Healthy Food Choices
What are the best foods to protect your cardiovascular system? First, make sure you’re getting enough whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa. Next, look for foods that contain healthy monounsaturated fats, like avocado.
Mackerel, tuna, and sardines are also rich in healthy fats since they contain omega-3 fatty acids. Finally, seek out foods that contain antioxidants, such as real dark chocolate.
Why Does Skin Change With Aging?
Elastin and collagen make up the elastic tissue of your skin. As you get older, the amount of elastin and collagen in your body declines. As a result, you’ll experience loose skin, that’s also more fragile.
You may notice your skin starts to become transparent as well, the older you get. Transparent skin is the result of your body’s epidermis thinning out. For some, aging also causes their skin to become rougher than usual.
Nutrition and Healthy Aging for Supple Skin
What dietary changes will help keep your skin supple and healthy? First, cut down on your salt and sugar intake.
Next, start choosing whole foods instead of processed ones. You should also start eating flaxseeds since they’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Finally, start eating foods that contain vitamin C, like kiwis. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, which means it can kill free radicals that harm skin cells. Parsley, red pepper, and broccoli are also great sources of vitamin C.
Start Making Changes in Your Nutrition and Aging
Congratulations! You’re all done reading our guide for nutrition and aging. However, finishing this article doesn’t mean your journey’s done, because now it’s time to put your new knowledge to use. Take a moment to create a grocery list that includes the foods we’ve outlined in this article.
Next, go to the grocery store, or order the foods you need online. Now, the next time you’re hungry, you’ll have a healthy food option ready to go! For more tips like the advice in this article, explore the rest of our site.