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How Your Nutritional Needs Change As You Age

As we get older, eating healthy becomes even more important. As ageing is linked to a whole host of different changes in our bodies, such as nutrient deficiencies, loss of bone strength and density and muscle weakness, finding ways to treat and alleviate these symptoms and changes is vital in maintaining a good quality of life as we become older. However, there are things you can do in order to help prevent your body from age-related changes and deficiencies. 

How Does Ageing Affect Your Nutritional Needs?

Ageing is linked to a number of different changes in the body, such as thinner skin, muscle loss and less stomach acid. Some of these normal body changes can make you more prone to nutrient deficiencies, whilst other changes can also change and affect your senses and quality of life as you get older.

Studies have shown that around 20% of elderly people have atrophic gastritis, which is a condition where chronic inflammation has damaged the cells which produce stomach acid. Having low stomach acid can affect the natural balance of your body and can affect the absorption of nutrients which may lead to a need for high strength magnesium supplements or calcium tablets.

Another issue which many people may face as they age is a reduction in their natural abilities to detect things such as thirst and hunger, which could then lead to further nutritional issues such as dehydration and unintentional weight loss.

Needing Fewer Calories, But Increasing Nutrients

The number of calories you need on a daily basis depends on your weight, height, activity levels and muscle mass, as well as several other contributing factors. Older adults may find that they need fewer calories in order to maintain their weight due to moving and exercising less and carrying less muscle. If, for example, you were to eat the same number of calories each day when you are 65 as you did when you were 55, then you will find that you may gain extra fat easier, particularly around your mid-area.

Although older adults need fewer calories, they will need the same levels, and sometimes higher, of some nutrients in comparison to younger people. This means it is important for older people to eat a wide variety of whole foods such as fruit, vegetables and lean meats. It is also recommended that older people eat fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, to maintain their omega-3 levels, but high strength fish oil capsules are also recommended. These healthy staples can help older people to fight nutritional deficiencies, without compromising your waistline.

Conclusion

Ageing is linked to changes which may make you more prone to deficiencies in vitamin D, iron, magnesium and calcium, as well as other important nutrients. It may also reduce your ability to be able to recognise normal sensations, including hunger and thirst. As you get older, you should make a conscious effort to keep hydrated and maintain your food intake whilst eating a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods. You may also want to consider taking supplements and vitamins to ensure you are getting the right levels. All of these actions can help to fight deficiencies and keep you feeling healthy as you age.