Nutrition tips: Eat right for your age

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NUTRITION TIPSFibre
This is an important part of a healthy, balanced diet. Fibre can help prevent the onset of chronic diseases and can do wonders for your digestive health. Opt for wholegrain bread, experiment with porridge oats at breakfast and discover whole grains such as brown rice, bulgur and quinoa. Whole grains will also deliver the all-important B-vitamins, which help to convert food into energy, allowing you to stay energised throughout the day.

Ensure you meet your five-a-day fruit and vegetable target. This will also contribute to fibre intake and boost your nutritional intake.

In your 40s
In their 40s many people take their good health for granted, whereby healthy eating and exercise are often neglected. However, as we advance in age, good nutrition and reversing the sedentary lifestyle trend begin to gain some ground in our list of priorities. A diet rich in antioxidants will promote cellular stability, staving off the ageing process and helping to protect against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and certain types of cancer.

The metabolic rate – essentially the rate at which the body burns calories – will drop. However, the drop is minimal; the real reason why many people in this age bracket start to suffer from weight issues is due to the lack of movement. Excess weight, especially around the ‘middle’ is correlated with heart disease and diabetes. So start exercising and make a conscious effort to keep fit and be healthy.

A percentage of women in the 40s age range have low iron stores. Keeping the body well supplied with iron provides vitality, helps the immune system to function optimally and keeps the mind alert.

What to eat?

Antioxidants
A diverse range of differing coloured fruit and vegetables should be on the menu as they are an excellent source of antioxidants.

Iron
Lean red meat is one of the most easily absorbed forms of iron. Aim to consume red meat once or twice a week. Fortified cereals can be a good option along with lentils, beans, pulses and plenty of green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, green beans and broccoli.

In your 50s
Health problems, such as raised cholesterol, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes are on the rise in this age group. As such, a low fat diet incorporating plenty of fruit and vegetables is the best way to counteract these conditions.

Moreover, the menopause will have a significant impact on this category of women. Symptoms will vary greatly and are linked to a decline in oestrogen levels featured in the menopause. This accelerates the loss of calcium from the bone, increasing the risk of osteoporosis and brittle bones.

What to eat

Calcium
Consume three portions of low-fat, low-sugar calcium rich foods every day to minimize bone loss.

The Mediterranean diet
This diet comprises lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, delivering a spectrum of heart friendly vitamins and minerals.

Watch the fat
As we age, the body’s energy requirement decreases. Body fat gets deposited when too many calories are consumed and insufficient levels are burned. Include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats from nuts, seeds and their oils instead of saturated fat.

Omega-3 fats
Aim to eat 2-3 portions of omega-3 rich foods a week as these can help keep your bones and heart healthy due to their potent anti-inflammatory effects.

Continue to drink a couple of litres of water every day. Moderate caffeine consumption as it can interfere with the amount of calcium absorbed.

Other anti-inflammatory spices such as cinnamon, turmeric and ginger confer many anti-inflammatory health benefits.