At 20, 40, 60 and 70: How to eat healthily at any age
Healthy eating is essential for a long life. As US researchers have now discovered, around a quarter of all avoidable deaths are due to poor nutrition. We explain which foods belong on your plate depending on their age.
Around the world, people are hardly healthier today than they were 30 years ago. Although more legumes, nuts and vegetables rich in vitamins are being eaten than before, more unhealthy foods are also being consumed – for example sweetened drinks or red meat and processed meat products, as a study shows.
According to the scientists around Victoria Miller from Tufts University (Boston/USA), poor nutrition is one of the main causes of diseases. It is estimated to be responsible for 26 percent of all preventable deaths. The researchers present their results in the specialist journal „Nature Food“ before.
But what belongs on the plate to stay fit? According to today’s recommendations, a healthy diet consists of plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, good oils, as little industrially processed food as possible, sparing consumption of animal products, white flour and sugar – from children to old people. So there are only healthy and unhealthy diets, but no different diets based on age.
But: With the years and depending on the life situation, the need and the utilization of nutrients change. And age does play a role here. For example, they have an overview of what to look out for Nutritionist at the University of California, San Diego compiled.
This is what matters from 20 to 40:
The basal metabolic rate is highest in young adults, which means that the body uses up the most calories even without physical activity. At this age, many people can “eat whatever they want” without getting fat. At least the body forgives a few fast food orgies and other escapades at this age.
Exciting, but no time right now?
In general, build muscles, bones and connective tissue between the ages of 20 and 30 , also with the help of a sensible diet. Everyone can draw on this basis in later years when it is no longer so easy to maintain fitness.
In these years, special attention to nutrition requires more of a life circumstance for women: pregnancy.
On the subject:
Special dietary instructions for young pregnant women only
In addition to a diet full of high-quality nutrients and the natural avoidance of tobacco and alcohol, it is important to ensure an optimal supply of vitamins, minerals and trace elements so that the child develops well. Eating for two, on the other hand, is completely unnecessary and wrong.
Therefore, approximately all expectant mothers in the first 3 months of pregnancy folic acid take in. Iodine tablets can also be useful. And vegans must also pay attention to a number of micronutrients that they lack by not eating animal foods: Iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins B12, B2 and D and an appropriate intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
This becomes important after 40:
From the age of 40, the metabolism begins to slow down. While the body can still break down too much sugar and carbohydrates at the age of 30, it loses this ability at the latest by the age of 40. Suddenly, an unchanged diet is reflected in the abdomen and hips.
Those who only now decide to eat appropriately can still set the course for a healthy future.
Anyone who has already eaten reasonably healthy should now pay more attention to the following elements:
- Brightly colored fruit and vegetables – the antioxidants they contain act as cell protection in the body with an anti-aging effect.
- more whole grains on the menu
- a (small) portion of red meat twice a week – good for building muscle, also important for women to prevent iron deficiency
- Vegetarians should primarily use green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale or chard.
Here’s what you need to watch out for in your 50s and 60s:
Now begins a dangerous age for cardiovascular problems , such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure. Anyone who has neglected their diet and exercised little must expect type 2 diabetes.
What is important now is a diet that keeps the blood sugar level stable and prevents deposits in the vessels. It should be low in cholesterol, high in fiber, and high in digestible carbohydrates, so:
- lots of vegetables
- little animal fat
- no sweetened soft drinks
- little white flour products
- Good oils (olive, flaxseed)
- Fish (omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D)
- Low-Fat Dairy Products (Calcium)
Hormone changes accelerate the loss of calcium from bone. The substitution of calcium plus vitamin D can now counteract the threat of osteoporosis . It occurs earlier and more frequently in women due to the reduction in estrogen during menopause. But bone loss also threatens men.
An omega-3 supplement can benefit heart health if one does not eat sea fish. Omega-3 fatty acids stabilize the blood vessels.
Just live healthy
In this issue of FOCUS Health, you can read how you can lose weight more easily, find relaxation, become stronger and fitter. Plus: the best doctors.
The right diet at 70 plus:
Various physiological and psychological changes occur with age that directly affect nutritional needs. The taste buds and the appetite decrease, as does the desire to cook freshly for yourself.
The body is less able to absorb and use many vitamins and minerals. As we age, the digestive juices in the stomach change, reducing the absorption of iron, calcium, and vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid.
Long-term use of prescription drugs can decrease the absorption of certain nutrients.
Fewer calories but no fewer nutrients
Seniors need fewer calories than younger people, but no fewer nutrients. Protein becomes even more important as you age: it can delay muscle loss with age, especially when combined with strength training.
The rule of thumb is one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day . However, it shouldn’t be exclusively meat protein, as it promotes inflammation, especially in the joints.
Because digestion becomes sluggish with age, fiber is important for the 70+ generation. A teaspoon of psyllium husk is a recommended alternative to the amount of vegetables or whole grains that would be needed for optimal nutrition. Seniors have to drink plenty of fluids, even if that is difficult for many.
With agency material