Should My Diet Change After Age 60?
By Genevieve Cunningham
Your diet should consist of healthy foods from an early age. However, the fact of the matter is that many people spend their youth eating and drinking whatever they like with little worry about the consequences. As people age, these consequences can become more severe, with poor diet leading to high blood pressure, chronic disease, or worse. By the age of 60, your diet really should have changed to best counteract these concerns and support healthy aging.
Is Diet the Most Important Element in My Health?
Diet is the most important element of health. A lack of proper nutrition can cause you to lose muscle, experience weight loss or increased body weight, and even go on to develop heart disease. It is important that you maintain a nutritious diet and incorporate all food groups into your daily menu to maintain your health.
Of course, you will also need to pair your eating plans with an exercise routine for optimal health overall. You cannot maintain your bone, muscle, and joint health without exercise. However, it’s a common misconception that people have, that they can outwork a bad diet through exercise. But unless you’re an elite athlete -- the kind who aspires to something Olympian or very high-caliber -- you’ll never burn enough calories through your workout to offset poor food choices. And those elite athletes tend to have healthy diets too.
What Goes Into a Good Diet?
A good diet incorporates all food groups. This means you should be eating a mixture of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy. Make sure you’re choosing lean protein options, such as turkey, chicken, and fish, and not red meats such as beef that are higher in sodium.
You should eat a variety of:
- Yogurt, cheese
- Nuts, seeds
- Beans, peas
- Meats, poultry
- Fruits, veggies
It’s also imperative that you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water. A lack of hydration is often cause for concern when it comes to the bones, joints, and other bodily systems. Your body cannot function to the best of its ability without enough water each day.
Though the amount you should be drinking varies from person to person, it is generally advised to drink at least 64 ounces per day. When also trying to lose weight, you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day instead. This means at 200 pounds, you need 100 ounces of water. You will also require more on a hot day compared to a cold one.
Avoid foods high in saturated fat and sodium because these can greatly impact your heart and overall health. You can enjoy healthy fats, such as those found in avocados, nuts, and olive oil. However, these should be consumed in minimal amounts. Look for unsaturated fats on food labels, as these are the healthy versions to eat compared to saturated and trans fats that are harmful. You may see unsaturated fats listed as polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. These are helpful in lowering cholesterol, while other kinds can raise it.
When Should My Diet Begin to Change?
Generally, doctors suggest you begin changing your diet in your 40s, since this is when many health concerns arise. By age 50, bone health can start to take a turn for the worse, with osteoporosis very common. This is especially true for women. Increasing your intake of Vitamin D can help.
Once you hit 60, you should have already made significant changes to your diet. If you have already reached this milestone but haven’t yet updated your diet plan, now is definitely the time to do it. The median age for a cancer diagnosis is 66 years old, making it worthwhile to start a new eating plan soon to prevent serious disease.
How Should My Diet Change as I Get Older?
As you get older, you need to focus on foods that will assist with the particular problems you’re facing. If you are losing muscle mass, for example, you need to fuel up on protein and healthy fats. Eggs are a great source. Certain individuals may also require more fiber in their diets. The digestive tract relies on this nutrient to operate efficiently. Lentils, kidney beans, artichokes, oats, and raspberries are worthwhile sources.
If your red blood cell count is low, you’ll want to consume foods rich in Vitamin A, such as leafy greens, sweet potatoes, carrots, and grapefruit. You will also want to boost your body’s ability to absorb Vitamin B12 because this particular vitamin is necessary for forming red blood cells in the first place. Poultry, eggs, dairy, and fish are all excellent sources.
Can I Counteract the Effects of a Bad Diet?
Suddenly changing to a good diet does not automatically counteract years and years of poor eating habits. However, it will begin to have positive impacts on your mind and body, and can help improve symptoms you’ve been experiencing. You may not be able to reverse a disease you now have, but you can minimize symptoms and prevent further illness by changing your diet for the better.
It is important to note that you may not feel well for the first week or two after making changes and sticking with them. Your body needs time to adjust to the new foods you’re eating. In the meantime, you may experience headaches, loose stools, stomach cramps, mood changes, and sleep disturbances. Once your body adjusts, these issues should dissipate and you will feel much better going forward.
Seek Additional Guidance From The Joint Chiropractic
Your diet should most definitely change as you age, but that isn’t the only consideration you’ll need to make. Healthy eating needs to be paired with an active lifestyle if you have any hope of maintaining your well-being into your retirement years. Movement -- any kind of movement -- is important and a good start if your exercise program is lacking. With chiropractic care also part of your routine, your joints will remain as limber as possible. If you are looking to age well, seek care and additional guidance from your local healthcare providers, the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic.
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this page are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this post is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics, including but not limited to the benefits of chiropractic care, exercise and nutrition. It is not intended to provide or be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your chiropractor, physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this page.