How to Eat for Your Decade
We have written in an earlier post about how we should be exercising in each decade of our lives but now it is the turn to think about what we should be eating!
And how this can change with each decade...
Protein is important in the Twenties Decade
In this age group, the building blocks for a strong and healthy body are being laid. And ensuring your diet is full of protein-rich food will help your body (a) to build and (b) to heal muscle - to keep you strong especially if you exercise and play sport regularly. Protein sources include fish such as tuna and salmon, lean meat from beef and pork as well as dairy products. However, if you are vegetarian or vegan then eating plenty of nuts, beans, lentils, seeds and tofu will fit the bill.
As well as concentrating on protein consumption, think about those foods that help with improving eyesight and flushing out free radicals. Spinach is great for this as well as being full of vitamin K, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus for your bone health. It is never too early to start looking after your bone health especially as we reach peak bone mass between twenty five and thirty before going on to decline at the age of forty.
Leafy greens are key for the Thirties Decade
When you reach your thirties, both men and women can be more prone to inflammation. Incorporating lots of leafy greens (spinach, kale and arugala among others) that are rich in vitamin A will help to fight inflammation, lowering your risk of heart disease, back pain, strokes and more.
Fruit such as cherries and blueberries are rich in anti-inflammatory properties helping to control the inflammation and pain often associated with osteoporosis and other conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for women in this age group as many will being going through pregnancy and breastfeeding. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish is also good for protecting the heart and brain.
On to plenty of beans and nuts in the Forties and Fifties
Unfortunately, these two decades can mean starting to lose muscle mass as well as slowing your metabolism and finding it harder to keep weight off. In addition, diet and lifestyle can affect your blood pressure and cholesterol while females have the menopause on the horizon.
The menopause can mean estrogen levels decline which can slow down digestion so that constipation, bloating and flatulence can be an issue as well as a decrease in gut microbiome diversity. The solution can be to increase the consumption of prebiotic fiber. Oats, beans, nuts, asparagus, wheat bran, chia seeds and fruit.
In those same decades, men can suffer from declining testosterone levels which can also affect their gut health. Including more prebiotic fiber with samples listed above will be helpful to improve gut health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
The Sixties means the emphasis should be on calcium
When we reach our sixties, we are risk the loss of some of our bone mass but we can minimize this loss through our diet. Calcium and vitamin D are vital nutrients for maintaining healthy bones. Calcium is found in dairy products, canned oily fish and even sesame seeds while avoiding an actual calcium supplement which has its downsides.
On the other hand, vitamin D in food is not sufficient so it is vital to take a generous vitamin D3 supplement all year round but especially during the colder months. During the summer, spend some time in the sun exposing as much skin as possible until that skin starts to turn pink. As we age, we are at risk of becoming vitamin D deficient so levels become increasingly important.
When you get to the Seventies and Beyond, high calorie nutritious smaller meals make good sense
If losing weight affects those in the seventies decade, it may be because of illness or loss of appetite. Being underweight can be a problem just as being overweight can. Being underweight increases the risk of health problems including bone fractures, weakening the immune system and increasing the risk of being deficient in important nutrients.
A solution can be switching to smaller meals and frequent nutritious snacks so that the three big meals per day are no longer necessary. In the same way as the twenties, protein intake is important in older age. This will help to prevent loss of muscles. Include protein-rich foods in those smaller meals including meat, fish, eggs, beans and more.
In addition, keeping active is vitally important for keeping those muscles strong. Make sure to include healthy fats to maintain energy levels. Suggestions include butter and coconut oil.
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Appendix 7. Nutritional goals for age-sex groups based on Dietary reference intakes and dietary guidelines recommendations. (2015).
https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-7/. (Accessed, 5 October 2021).
Chinwong, S., et al. (2017). Daily consumption of virgin coconut oil increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in healthy volunteers: A randomized crossover trial.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5745680/. (Accessed, 5 October 2021).
Almonds reduce the risk of heart disease, research shows. (2014).
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140630094527.htm. (Accessed, 2 October 2021).