Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet should always be part of your lifestyle, but did you know that there are certain types of foods that you should put more focus on as you get older? Your body goes through changes as each decade goes by, so make sure you are choosing the right foods to help stave off potential health problems.
What to eat when you are in your 20s
When you are 20-something, your bones are still growing. But once you hit the big 3-0, it stops. This is why your 20s are an extremely important to include calcium in your diet in order to build up bone strength. It is recommended that you get 1,000 mg of calcium everyday, and yogurt is perhaps the most ideal way to get it. Just limit your sugar intake by opting for plain, low fat yogurt. Sprinkling cheese onto salads and soups is also fine, but limit it to an ounce or two as cheese is high in fat (even low fat cheese can catch up to you if you eat it in large quantities). Aside from dairy products, Salmon is another great source of calcium. However, if you are a vegetarian or vegan, kale and tofu also have you covered.
As you are consuming food with calcium, it is also important to include eggs in your diet as egg whites contain Vitamin D, which helps your stomach absorb that calcium. Tuna and sardines are also good options for Vitamin D. From time to time swordfish can also be part of your meal, but avoid eating it too often as it contains the most mercury of any fish.
What to eat when you are in your 30s
In addition to being a great source of protein, beans also contain folate, which is important for women who are pregnant or ready to start a family. A serving of black beans can do the trick. Avocado, asparagus, nuts and dark, leafy greens are also really delicious and satisfying sources of folate.
These generally flavorless seeds are a great source of Omega-3, which will help you combat arthritis. While you are unlikely to develop pain in your joints while in your 30s, Omega-3s can protect against the painful effects down the road. Sunflower seeds and chia seeds are also good choices. You can also develop the courage to order your pizza with anchovies as they are also a source of Omega-3s.
What to eat when you are in your 40s
Grilled Turkey Breast
Once you reach your 40s, your risk of developing diabetes increases significantly. One of the best ways to protect against spikes in blood sugar is to eat protein. Grilled turkey breast is very low in fat but really packs a protein punch. Protein can also help women as they begin to approach menopause, a time in which lean muscle begins to decline and fat increases. Of course, lean chicken filet, pork and lean cuts of beef (sirloin in particular) are other delicious options for getting your protein in-take. If you aren’t a meat-eater, go with eggs and Greek yogurt.
Omega-3s continue to be important, and salmon is a great source that is tasty and filling. Aside from the fact that they assist against arthritis, science has shown that they can also combat depression. Given that women between the ages of 40 and 59 record the highest rates of depression, Omega-3s take on additional importance. Spinach, walnuts and tofu are good alternatives if you don’t eat fish.
Once you reach your 40s, your metabolism begins to slow down, making it more difficult to burn fat. This is where fiber becomes really important. Lentils contain 15 grams of fiber per serving and are a delicious, easy way to help you manage your weight. In fact, a 2015 study by Annals of Internal Medicine found that eating two servings of fiber has the same effect as a more complex, challenging diet that involves increasing fruits, vegetables and protein plus reductions in fat, alcohol, salt and sugar.
What to eat when you are in your 50s
We cannot stress this enough: as your bone density begins to decline in your 50s (leading to a greater risk of developing osteoporosis), your calcium intake needs to increase. Cottage cheese is a healthful way to get those extra 200 mg of calcium that your body requires in your 50s. Black-eyed peas, white beans and seaweed are also recommended. However, ditch the calcium supplements. A recent study in the Journal of Heart and Medicine found that women who take calcium supplements had higher levels of plaque buildup in their arteries, which increases the risk for heart attacks.
Women aged 55 and older experience an increased risk of heart-disease since their levels of estrogen, which help protect the body against it, begin to taper off. But a Mediterranean diet, which includes heart-healthy fats found in olive oil can protect against heart-attacks, even among the population that is at the highest risk of developing heart disease. Seeds, salmon and other foods Omega-3 fats are also smart choices.
What to eat when you are in your 60s
Clams, prawns and mussels contain high levels of vitamin B12. As you age, your body starts to produce less stomach acid, which is necessary for absorbing B12. As a result, you need to increase your intake of B12 beyond levels that were recommended when you were younger. It has also been found that B12 can combat the effects of dementia. Trout, salmon, milk, eggs and yogurt are also good sources.