I had the great pleasure of talking to the Senior Run Group at the Athletic Annex Monday night about the nutritional changes as we age. What an enthusiastic and passionate group! We had a great time discussing this topic so I thought I would include my notes below. Enjoy!
Top 3 Nutritional Changes as we Age
1. Nutrient Density
Calorie needs decrease. We move less, We have less muscle. So nutrient density is extremely important.
3-2-1 Eat (3 meals/2 healthy snacks & recovery snack if you exercise)
Why? The body becomes more efficient at burning calories, you are less likely to over eat and more likely to make better choices. Easier to control calorie intake.
Choose food/fluids from the Fit Livin’ Fuel List (located in the FitLivin App).
Plus, vitamin & mineral requirements increase as the body ages.
B 12: important for making red blood cells and proper nerve function. Symptoms of deficiency: anemia- SOB, fatigue…nerve issues- tingling, numbness, burning, balance issues…cognitive impairment- poor memory, irritability, even dementia.
As we age our ability to absorb vitamin B12 goes down primarily because stomach acid levels decline and some medications can interfere.
Good dietary sources include meat and dairy products, fortified cereals, multivitamin or b12 supplement. RDI is 2.4 micrograms. Western diet provides 2-3 x’s that…and most multivitamins provide 12-25 mcg.
Calcium: important for bone health and muscle contraction.
Calcium not absorbed as well due to drop is stomach acid.
Good sources: dairy, greens, nuts & seeds.
Vitamin D: important for bone health and to protect against many different health conditions: arthritis, ms, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune. Skin doesn’t produce Vitamin D as well as we age.
Good sources: salmon, eggs, tuna.
- Decrease in total body water, reducing hydration capacity.
- Thirst sensation decreases as well.
- Certain medicines can increase risk for dehydration.
- Kidney fx becomes less efficient requiring more water to remove waste.
- Because of all this, we do not acclimate as well
Daily: drink fluid ounce of half your body weight (in pounds). Example: 180 pounds/2 = 90 ounces fluid per day. Divide by 8 to determine how many cups/day. Example: 90/8 = 11.25 cups.
Be sure to replace fluid losses after exercise. Drink 2-3 cups for every pound lost or 4 cups for every 1 hour exercised.
3. Protein: important to take in adequate amounts to get the most out of the body’s ability to build and repair. Protein needs for individuals >35 years old: 1.2-1.7 g/KG. Choose from a variety of protein sources (beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, lean meats).
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