How aging changes nutritional needs

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eating older woman
As we age, we need to be even more cognizant of what we are eating
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The older you are, the better your diet needs to be

News alert: If you are 50-years-old you probably cannot eat as you did when you were 25, or even 35, and not expect to gain weight, unless you are one of the lucky exceptions to the rule.

Aging changes nutritional needs. Aging also changes our metabolism.

One of our best defenses against poor health and depression is eating right. The aging body requires better nutrition and better care in general than its youthful counterpart. Of course, if you have taken wonderful care of your body your entire life you are one step ahead of the game; however, you must still be mindful of the different nutritional requirements that an aging body has.


As women, in particular, age, their sex hormones - including estrogen and progesterone - decline. These hormones are responsible for a myriad of things, including keeping your skin and hair healthy and helping you to maintain emotional equilibrium. When these hormones decline, you must compensate for the loss by eating a healthier diet. A balanced diet will give you energy, assist you in keeping excess weight at bay, support your moods and keep your hair and skin healthy looking.


Aging changes our nutritional needs especially for females who are in peri-menopause, the phase that leads to full menopause or to the permanent cessation of the menstrual period, as well as those who are menopausal, and whose bodies subsequently have different needs. Aging changes nutritional needs and requires targeted wellness products and regimens, as well as health care and preventative medical treatment.



As we age, we need to exercise more and eat less because our metabolism automatically slows down. If you do not, the pounds are going to pack on. Excess weight is not good for you. Post middle-aged woman may noticed that although they have not gained weight their body weight seems to have shifted. Their arms and legs may be thinner but they find that they are thicker in the mid-section. This is due in large part to the reduction of estrogen and progesterone and an increase in testosterone. The shift in hormones alters your body shape.


You do not have to take this lying down. Fight back. Improve your diet and engage in physical exercise. Add vitamins and supplements formulated especially for older adults. Eat whole plant-based foods, such as leafy green vegetables. Include beans, whole grains and legumes in your diet. These items are full of fiber, which will keep your bowels regular. Eat calcium fortified foods as well as take a calcium supplement. Women are at high risk of acquiring osteoporosis, or porous bones, as they age. Osteoporosis results in bones that fracture and break easily. Plant-based sources of calcium include Brussels sprouts, collard greens, kale, beans and broccoli.


Shy away from protein. Protein is necessary but too much can cause you to lose calcium. Eat foods that contain iron, which prevents anemia or iron-poor blood. Iron is contained in spinach, iron-fortified cereals, lean red meat, lentils, almonds and dark poultry.


Watch your alcohol and caffeine consumption. Drinking booze increases your risk of acquiring osteoporosis and caffeine also increases the loss of calcium. If you are menopausal and suffering from hot flashes, limiting alcohol, coffee, sugar and white flour products will reduce or entirely eliminate your hot flashes and night sweats.


Do not cut out fat altogether because fat is necessary in your diet, even as you age. Fat actually helps keep you mentally sharp and in a good mood. If you completely eliminate fat from your diet, your hair may become overly dry; your skin will turn dull and your nails will become brittle. "Good" fats can be found in seeds and nuts. Fats also lower the sugar index of foods, which slows down the spike in blood sugar that occurs when you eat carbs. Fat also helps your body absorb vitamins, including vitamins A, D, E and K. These vitamins are fat soluble, which means that you need fat in your system in order to absorb them. Good fats include Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids that give your skin a flow and boost hormone production.


Because aging changes a woman's nutritional needs, women should consider adding soy products to their diet. Soy-based foods are full of phytoestrogens, which are plant-based estrogens comparable to the estrogens that your body produced when it was younger.


Men, too, need to be cognizant of how aging changes nutritional needs. Although men do not experience the drastic hormonal change that women do, men do experience a drop in testosterone as they age. Men lose muscle mass and may become depressed as they age. This is called andropause or male menopause. Men should adjust calorie intake, focus on vitamin formulas that a specifically balanced for older adults, and adapt a exercise routine to physical ability.



Colorado State Publications health topics senior health

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