As we age, our basal metabolic rate (BMR) decreases meaning that we should generally need fewer calories as we get older according to the British Diabetic Association. The amount of fat, carbohydrates and fibre we consume should follow the following recommendations; Fat: 50g, saturated fat: 20g, Carbs: 260g, and Fibre: 30g. These suggestions are based on guidelines set by the British Nutrition Foundation. Aim to reach a 100 years of age, don’t have your lifespan ‘stolen’ by poor dietary choices. Let’s take a look at Top 5 Foods To Eat As You Age!
1. Tofu for Vitality
Tofu is a multi-functional ingredient and a staple in my own kitchen. A big benefit to seniors is that good quality tofu is fortified with calcium. Tofu’s high calcium content means it has the potential to prevent osteoporosis, a common condition affecting the older generation, which is associated with fractures and brittle bones. Another surprising benefit is that it can also help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. Research suggests that this is due to the plant compound, phytoestrogen found in tofu. Lastly, tofu is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. These amino acids are important since we can not make them ourselves and so it must come from the food we eat.
Walnuts are an excellent source of omega 3, 6 and 9. Research has shown that foods rich in the essential amino acid omega 3 can improve eye health, prevent cognitive decline and boost immunity. Another benefit of consuming fat is that it helps the body absorb nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K. This is important because, as we age, our ability to absorb nutrients decreases. Eating just a small handful (35g) of walnuts a day has been shown to be highly beneficial.
3. Fortified Foods: B12 Yeast Flakes
These wonderfully cheesy tasting flakes are an easy addition to any diet. Just over one and a half servings (or 7g) of the flakes contain 100% of your Daily Recommended Allowance (RDA) of B12. It also contains a number of other essential B nutrients. B12 in particular is a concern for the aging population due to the level of ‘intrinsic factor’. This is a glycoprotein produced by the stomach which enables your body to absorb B12. This absorption rate decreases with age. Overall, vitamin B12 protects the nervous system, fights symptoms of fatigue and gives the skin a healthy appearance.
50g of it a day may keep the doctor at bay! This superfood contains a good amount of vitamin K which promotes bone health by improving calcium absorption. Spinach also contains a large amount of potassium, which means that it has the ability to lower blood pressure. Other advantages are that its naturally occurring nitrates strengthen muscles over time and its photochemical energy can enhance brain function. Even more astonishing, consumption of spinach has been linked to the prevention of the rapid onset of certain types of cancers. Lastly, spinach promotes a healthy digestive tract, is an inexpensive source of protein, has low amounts of saturated fat and provides just 45 calories per 100g in its raw form. Looks like ‘Popeye’ was onto something!
Among Mother Nature’s best ingredients: chickpeas, lentils, peas and very many more from the almost infinitely huge legume family. Legumes are essentially mineral powerhouses containing: zinc, iron, calcium, folate and potassium as well as also providing vitamin B complex. Furthermore, legumes have been found to help prevent cell damage and fight diseases related to aging by supplying the body with antioxidants. A low GI (glycemic index) makes legumes suitable for those following a sugar-free lifestyle. To summarise, legumes make for a highly versatile ingredient and legume combinations provide an excellent protein alternative to meat.