Despite living through a global pandemic, social media and the internet mean that perhaps more now than ever, we have time to focus, for better or worse, on what we’re eating. In our case, that’s mostly banana bread.
But fear not. This isn’t a “simple, easy to follow meal plan”. Instead, we offer some practical advice on how to adapt what you eat as you age, courtesy of Diego Carrete, a trainer, nutritionist and corporate wellness coach, based in Dubai.
The result? Ideally, optimized health and fitness, regardless of which age bracket you tick on a survey.
As our body ages, our metabolism slows down our bone density decreases and muscle becomes harder to build. But with some small adjustments to the way you eat, you can make big changes that will keep you healthier for longer. Just ask Jason Statham.
Allow Diego to explain
How to eat as you age
Past the big 3-0, our metabolism starts to slow down. You might have noticed that the once fortnightly run you do isn’t keeping you in shape any more. Why? Because at this age we start to lose muscle we move less. As a result, it pays to adjust your caloric intake and activity levels to compensate.
What To Do
At this age the best thing you can do is give your body the protein it wants, allowing it to preserve muscle. The recommended daily average is about 1g of protein per kilo of your bodyweight. If you weight 75kg that’s 75g of protein (or just over 2 chicken breasts) a day.
Clean up Your Act
You might start noticing your favourite foods aren’t going down as easy as they used too. Our digestive response slows as we age, which can lead to bloating. In addition, the older you get age, the worse your body becomes at digesting dairy products. Perhaps it’s time to slow down on the cheesy pizzas.
No, not like that. Healthy fats support hormonal health, protect against disease and keep your mood and brain function on-point. Healthy fats can be found in cashews, almonds, fatty fish like salmon or sardines. Sardines on toast with a cashew nut garnish, anyone?
Congratulations, you’ve made it through your 30s with muscle mass still in-tact. Oh, you haven’t? Well it’s never too late to start. As your activity rates slow, you need less calories but more nutrients per meal.
What To Do
Focus on Nutrients
Time is short, so if you’re eating, it’s best to make each bite as beneficial as possible.
Think kale, blueberries, berries or legumes. And no, they don’t have to be eaten raw. Make life easier by thinking about this sort of eating when you’re at the supermarket, not when you’re stood in front of a cupboard full of crisps.
Fatty acids become even more important now. That’s probably why your nan keeps Omega 3 capsules by her bed. Reducing inflammation, these fats can also be found in
be olive oil, avocados or chia seeds which sounds like a good excuse to make a boujie breakfast.
Your 50s and beyond
Remember the muscle loss we talked about earlier? We’re afraid it gets worse as you age, pops. 3 to 5 percent per decade, to be precise. However, here's a quick reminder of men who are in their fifties: Jason Statham. Hugh Jackman. Brad Pitt. Are you any of these men? Probably not. But you could be.
What To Do
That protein intake is now responsible for a lot more than just keeping your six-pack tight. Inadequate protein intake contributes to increased skin fragility, decreased immune system and, you guessed it, loss of muscle.
No, not like that, either. As we age we are more prone to dehydration, so drink more water. Keep a 2L bottle with you throughout the day.
Supplement Your Income
Some of what your body needs to be its best gets increasingly hard to come by in your fifties as its ability to absorb nutrients diminishes. Vitamin B12, for example, is essential for maintaining healthy brain function. Your body can also become less efficient at producing vitamin D which in turn affects your absorption of calcium. So that’s why your grandpa keeps breaking his hip.