How (and Why) Your Nutritional Needs Change with Age

As you age, you’ll start to notice slow and subtle changes in your body. Aging has obvious signs, such as grey hairs and joint pain. But moreover, your nutrient and calorie needs will change, and this often goes without notice. As you age, it becomes increasingly essential to make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals, and calories you need to continue living life to the fullest.

Linking Age and Nutritional Needs

What does your age have to do with your nutritional needs? As you age, you become more prone to nutrient deficiencies, but at the same time, you need fewer calories due to the decline in your resting metabolic rate. You will likely also experience muscle depletion, thinner skin, and less stomach acid, which will require specific vitamins and minerals to help counteract.

What can you do to keep up with the evolution of your nutritional needs? First, you need to understand the changes your body undergoes with age and how they should inform your diet and lifestyle habits.

Dehydration

As you age, your body’s receptors that monitor changes in water levels can become less sensitive. This leads to you not feeling thirsty because your brain doesn’t register that you need more water. If you don’t remind yourself to drink water even when you don’t feel thirsty, you may experience dehydration. Long-term dehydration can lead to a lack of moisture in your cells, leading to fatigue and an inability to absorb medicines and nutrients.

To remind yourself to drink more water and monitor your drinking habits, you can buy water bottles with markings that correlate with your hydration goals. You can click here to find further tips for drinking enough water every day.

Decreased Appetite

With age typically comes a change in appetite. According to the National Institutes of Health, this occurs because of hormonal imbalance, trouble with digestion, and changes to your sense of taste and smell.

Keep in mind that this is a natural process, and it coincides with other changes in your body. For example, you don’t need as many calories in a day. However, a decrease in appetite can make it harder to meet your nutritional needs. Many seniors take supplements or focus on eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to get the necessary vitamins and minerals.

Change in Metabolism

As mentioned earlier, metabolism changes with age—but why? As people age, they tend to become less active and lose muscle, and their metabolic processes slow down naturally. Changes in your metabolism may lead to unwanted weight gain. To counteract the change, seniors can try weight training, consume more protein, and eat smaller portions but spread out meals and snacks throughout the day.

Common Nutrient Deficiencies

Decreased appetite and metabolic changes naturally affect your diet and make it more difficult to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from your food.

Nutrient deficiencies, if prolonged, can cause serious health problems. To keep your body strong and productive, you can take supplements to avoid the most common deficiencies.

  • Calcium– As bone density depletes, breaks and fractures become more common. To keep your bones strong, you can take calcium supplements or buy calcium-fortified foods and drinks.
  • Vitamin D– Without vitamin D, the body can’t properly absorb calcium. Research shows that vitamin D may also play a role in cognitive health.
  • Collagen- Collagen peptide supplements can help counteract the signs of aging in multiple areas; many seniors use this protein to reduce skin wrinkles and to strengthen bones and joints.
  • Vitamin B12– Many seniors experience vitamin B12 deficiency, causing strange sensations, weakness, fatigue, and even memory loss. You can eat more meat, eggs, and dairy products or take vitamin B12 supplements.

Age with Ease

If you understand the nutritional changes that come along with aging, you can make proactive changes to your diet and lifestyle to ensure many more years of health and happiness. If you do your research and listen to your body, you can handle aging with greater ease.

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