How Dietary Requirements Change As We Age

Dietary Requirements
Dietary Requirements

Wrinkled skin, white hairs, eyesight power increase, limited mobility…

All these are external appearances that define the aging process. In other words, these are the visible markers that tell us whether someone is of a specific age (maybe fifty and above). This is simple to spot and even a small child will be able to make out the difference.

However, what is not so visibly apparent is what happens to the insides of our bodies when we start to age. For example, the kind of changes that our organs go through. This includes the muscles, bones, tissues, and nervous systems.

According to leading medical and dietary experts, what we eat in the form of food has a direct bearing on our health as we start aging. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of awareness about how dietary requirements change as we age.

Maintaining brain function as we get older is also very important. Ensuring enough Vitamin B12 is consumed (either from supplements or from food fortified with this vitamin, such as eggs, meat, fish, and dairy products) can help in this regard.

In this resource article, we are going to discuss the importance of a healthy diet and understand it in relation to the human body’s aging process.

List of 5 Important Changes that take place in our Body as we Start Aging

  • The body’s vital parts and organs start becoming weaker-

One of the first fallouts of the aging process is that the parts of the body which were once strong and active, not tend to become weaker. This affects everything from muscle mass and strength to thinner and weaker hair. Additionally, internally our stomach limits acid production, which is required for nutrient absorption and breaking down of food items that we consume.

  • The body is unable to absorb nutrients, minerals, and vitamins naturally-

We already mentioned how the lack of acid production in the stomach limits the natural absorption of nutrients. These nutrients are essential for health, strength, normal body functions, and immunity. Like the stomach’s acid, our skin is unable to absorb Vitamin D. This, in turn, is detrimental to the body’s calcium needs and results in weaker bones and limited mobility.

  • Failure to recognize feels and needs like food (hunger) and water (hydration)-

You would have often heard elders in the family saying that they are not feeling hungry. This is exactly what this point is all about. Over the years, our body’s senses become weak and fail to intimate us when we are feeling hungry or thirsty. This can lead to a situation of drastic weight loss or even dehydration. Both of them are serious and can lead to health dangers.

  • Changes in calorie requirements for the aging body-

Doctors suggest that you need as many calories as you were younger as when you are old. The simple reason is that the body is unable to absorb nutrients. However, rich calories might prove to be detrimental to other organs. This is why it is essential to understand your body’s calorie requirements accurately. Slight fluctuations might result in health problems.

  • An increase in protein is recommended to compensate for muscle loss-

Medical studies have pointed out that on average an adult loses roughly 5% of their body’s muscle mass after reaching 30. This means that dietitians recommend an increase in levels of protein to help maintain muscle mass, strength, and mobility. Lean protein consumption needs to be highlighted in this regard. This helps fight something known as Sarcopenia.

Healthy Eating and Dietary Tips for Seniors

Firstly, it is critically important to be aware of the changes that one’s body goes through as we age. Secondly, it is best that you first seek expert consultation with a medical professional who can guide you on the exact nature of your diet plan.

In this section, we are going to list down some of the most important healthy eating and dietary tips for seniors.

  • Start by adding more lean protein to your diet. Go with food items like meats that do not have fat, soya bean, a lot of seafood, and eggs.
  • The more fruits and vegetables you consume, the better it will be for you. Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables as they are rich in nutrients.
  • Increasing the intake of fiber can help in bettering bowel movement. Adding brown rice, whole wheat bread, etc. can help your body’s digestion perform well.
  • While dairy products are not something that you should be too eager about, make sure that you are using a low-fat diary at all times.

Seniors should look to avoid taking sodium. Care should be taken to increase the consumption of Vitamin D.

The Bottom Line

By paying attention to all the points that have been mentioned in the article, you will be able to make an informed decision about your body’s dietary needs. If you would like us to address any other questions, or want certain clarifications on any of the points that we have jotted down, please feel free to contact us in the comments below.

I'm NOT a doctor! I'm just passionate about health and healthy leaving. The information on this website, such as graphics, images, text and all other materials, is provided for reference and educational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. The content is not intended to be complete or exhaustive or to apply to any specific individual's medical condition.