Clean eating should be a way of life and not a temporary solution to achieve a short-term fitness goal. Healthy eating habits can be meaningfully impactful to help counter the effects of aging for older women, such as reduced immunity, high blood pressure, muscle loss, and bone health.
As we age, our bodies start losing crucial nutrients, minerals, proteins, etc., and it’s up to us to feed them accordingly to make up for these lost essentials.
Here are 11 clean eating tips specifically for older women to help maintain optimal health
Include Adequate Lean Protein
Older women may experience muscle loss and decreased muscle strength, so it’s vital to include sufficient protein in their diet. Protein helps in muscle repair and maintenance, supports immune function, and promotes satiety. The few protein-rich foods recommended are avocado, eggs/soy products, meat, broccoli, beans, and lentils.
Hydrate Sufficiently With Water
As you grow old, there can be a decrease in the sense of thirst. Dehydration in older women can lead to constipation, urinary infections, and other cognitive issues. It is, therefore, crucial to stay adequately hydrated to support proper digestion, cognitive function, joint health, and overall well-being.
Increase Vegetable Intake
Vegetables such as leafy greens are extremely effective at meeting the body’s daily requirements for vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutrients. Since our body goes through various changes with age, especially after 50, incorporating vegetables in every meal is one of the easiest and most fruitful mechanisms to reduce the likelihood of serious conditions.
Eat Early And Light Dinners
It is a known fact that one should maintain a sufficient time gap between dinner and bedtime to allow for proper digestion of the food before sleep. This, in turn, promotes a better sleep cycle and overall well-being. For older women with digestive and/or sleep issues, it is a good habit to eat early and light dinners as part of their daily routine.
Limit Sodium Intake
Older women are more susceptible to high blood pressure. As a result, it is advised to reduce sodium intake by minimizing processed and packaged foods to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels.
Moderate Added Sugar Intake
Consuming excessive added sugars can contribute to weight gain, inflammation, and chronic diseases and leave less room for nutritious foods. Two common sources of sugar are processed snacks and beverages. Limiting such sugary beverages, sweets, and snacks helps maintain stable blood sugar levels and supports a healthy weight.
Prioritize Calcium And Vitamin D
Aging is typically linked with a higher risk of bone issues. Consuming calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified plant-based alternatives, along with adequate vitamin D from sunlight exposure or supplements, is crucial for maintaining bone health.
Watch Fiber Intake/Eat Whole Foods
Constipation and gastric issues are pretty prevalent in senior adults. The idea is to meet the fiber requirements suitable for your age group. Following recommended fiber intake helps maintain bowel regularity, supports gut health, and may lower the risk of chronic diseases and are, therefore, quite relevant for overall digestive health. Some high-fiber foods include whole grains such as oats and fruits such as apples, bananas, vegetables, and legumes.
Choose Healthy Fats
It is common knowledge that healthy fats are important for all age groups in general and specifically for the elderly. Including sources of healthy fats like nuts, olive oil, avocados, and seeds in the diet provides essential fatty acids required to reduce inflammation, risk of obesity, and lower cholesterol levels.
Be Mindful Of Portion Sizes
Aging results in a noticeable decrease in physical activity and metabolism. A principal factor to consider is being mindful of how we stack our plates as we age. Though portion size is necessary for all age groups, it becomes increasingly critical to focus on portion size and balance out the ratio of proteins, healthy fats, and carbs, as it can help prevent overeating, promote weight management, and ensure balanced nutrient intake.
Plan Ahead And Individualize Your Diet
Planning ahead of time is arguably the most effective way to avoid resorting to processed foods. Consider weekly planning and batch cooking as meal-planning techniques. It is also important to factor in personal preferences, dietary restrictions, and health conditions when making meal planning.
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