As we get older, we all know our body changes, but what about our diet? If we continue to eat what we ate when we were younger, we may not be getting those essential nutrients we need to keep healthy and strong well into our 60s and beyond. There are plenty of ways to get everything you need but something it can be tricky to know exactly what they are.
Here’s 10 of the best foods to eat to optimise your health in your 60s:
The ‘other’ vitamin B is often overlooked but Vitamin B12 is important for making red blood cells and improving cognition. And as we get older, our stomach’s acidity decreases, especially if we take medications, and B12 isn’t as easy to absorb from the food we typically eat.
You can find it in wholegrain cereals, meat, eggs, seafood and dairy.
As our saliva count drops in our 60s, we find that food tastes more bland. The great thing is that spices can add that extra flavour and encourage saliva production, not to mention they are great for you! Turmeric is one of the best spices to add to your dishes as it boosts immune function and decreases joint inflammation, particularly the type caused by arthritis. There’s also research to suggest turmeric’s main active compound curcumin may have a real affect on preventing Alzheimer’s and some forms of cancer. Cinnamon is also fantastic at maintaining control of blood sugar since it slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, which evens out blood sugar highs and lows. It’s also an anti-inflammatory.
Constipation is common as we age as our gastrointestinal system slows down. It can be hard to get your bowels moving so the best thing you can do is eat foods rich in fibre. One of the best sources for fibre is raspberries, as well as pasta, grains, cereals that contain barley, wheat or oats, brown rice, nuts, vegetables and fruit.
It might sound like a no-brainer but water is 100 per cent necessary every single day, yet one of the highest incidences of hospital admissions in over 60s is dehydration. We often don’t feel as thirsty when we’re older but it’s important to keep our fluids up. If you live in a hot area, you’ll need to drink even more water.
To keep your risk of stroke and heart disease down, eat foods with potassium such as bananas and potatoes. The key benefit of potassium is that it lowers blood pressure and has also been found to reduce incidences of kidney disorders, anxiety and stress, as well as enhance muscle strength.
We all know calcium is important for keeping strong bones and teeth but it is also essential for heart functioning and for the nervous system. When ladies go through menopause, their bone density falls and they need a lot of calcium to strengthen their bones again. If you do not keep up your calcium intake in your 60s, you can be at risk of osteoporosis. A catch 22 is that so you can absorb calcium properly, you also need vitamin D. If you are lactose intolerant or are worried about osteoporosis, eat leafy greens, salmon (with bones) and sardines, as well as tofu. Supplements can also assist with vitamin D intake.
As our eyesight decreases in our 60s, we need to keep our eyes in check as much as possible. We can do this by eating leafy greens, which contain vitamin A – essential for optimising vision and prevent macular degeneration. Green leafy vegetables, along with grapes, oranges, and egg yolks, are also excellent sources.
There are a lot of stresses when you’re in your 60s, but you can assist in your relaxation by eating magnesium-rich foods. Up your intake by eating spinach, almonds and black beans. Also, choose foods rich in vitamin B6, to give you extra energy by carrying oxygen to your cells during the day and helping you sleep better at night. Get it from chicken, turkey, and bananas.
Avocado is a great all-rounder food and contains vitamin E and antioxidants to help protect your vision and skin. The monounsaturated fat found in avocados has also been shown to improve the condition of hair and skin. Slice one up and put in your salads and on wholegrain bread.
Omega 3s are “essential” fatty acids, because they are necessary for health and must be included in your diet as unfortunately, our body cannot make them on its own. Omega 3-rich foods include anchovies, mackerel, salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed), sardines, tuna, and fish oil tablets/supplements/liquid.
How have you changed your diet since you were younger? Are you trying to change what you eat to take care of your health? Tell us below.