Eating right, living bright – Understanding your changing nutrition needs

So we’re sure you know that eating the right foods can help you get the most out of your body and stay energetic, active and stronger for longer. Whether your goals are to look after the garden, keep up with the grandkids, or run a half marathon, what you put into your body is just as important as what you do with your body. But exactly what are the areas to focus on as an active, older person?

Times Are A Changing

fit women runningOver the years, we’ve lived through any number of fad diets or food trends – some good, and some bad. It’s one of the reasons why nutrition is so confusing: the goal posts keep changing. But it’s important to remember that like medicine, nutrition science is constantly evolving, so what we thought was right 20 years ago, may not be so today.

On top of this, the physical needs of our body change as we get older – so the diet that served us well in our 30’s or 40’s, may not be suited to our 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Did you know your requirements for certain nutrients like calcium and vitamin D go up as you age? Understanding these changes in your body, and staying on top of the latest research, will help identify new eating habits to help you stay fitter and stronger for longer.

Bone Up on Muscle Research

Most of us have heard of, or understand how osteoporosis works. Our bone density increases as we grow and develop, but past a certain point, it starts to decrease to the point where our bones can become weakened. What you may not realise is that your muscles go through a similar process, but you may not notice until you start to feel the effects. It’s often called ‘feeling our age’ – when we get tired more quickly, have more aches and pains, or struggle to do the same level of physical activity we used to. The good news is that there are two things we can do to prevent or even reverse this decline: we can eat well, and we can stay active.

Maintain Muscle

musclesDid you know that protein makes up around 40% of our body? It has an essential role to play in almost every tissue, so it makes sense that we need a good source of protein in our diet. When it comes to maintaining muscle and staying active, protein is king, because our muscles rely on protein to fuel growth and regeneration.

Now we’re not talking about body building here – we’re talking about the everyday. In fact, your body is building and repairing muscles right now, because our body naturally replaces its entire muscle system every six months. That means it’s never too late to start eating for muscle health, and start reversing the feeling of getting older.

The Trick?

The key is to choose the right types of protein and have them at the right time to make the most of your intake. Just click on the links within this article for more in-depth advice and tips or browse our archives. And start your journey to staying stronger for longer today.

Making change takes time and effort, so you need to know that it’s going to be worth it. Fortunately, you don’t have to take our word for it – you can share your own experiences and learn how others have discovered benefits like increased strength, better mobility and sustained energy here on GrownUps.

By Emma Stirling APD