Healthy Eating after 60
Healthy Eating After 60 is an important factor to maintain a healthy and peaceful life. Human body changes as get older, but a balanced diet will help to stay healthy. We should know what to eat and how to keep healthy as we get older.
Whatever our age, it’s important to eat healthy, balanced diet. This means we should try to eat:
- plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least 5 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit a day
- some bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choose wholegrain varieties if we can
- milk and dairy foods
- meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein – two portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish
- just a small amount of foods and drinks which are high in fat or sugar
We should select the below foods to stay healthy when we get older:
Food rich in fibre
Eating foods containing fibre could be good for digestion. Constipation tends to become more as we get older, but fibre-rich foods can prevent constipation and other digestive problems.
Using raw bran as wheat bran in cereal can reduce the absorption of calcium in foods such as dairy or when we take a calcium containing medication if taken at the same time. This may be an issue in maintaining our healthy bones.
Iron is important for our general health. A lack of iron can make us feel weak. We have no energy, so include some iron-rich foods in our diet.
Another best source of iron is lean red meat. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend older men over 51 should eat 2 ½ serves and women over 51 should eat 2 serves of protein a day. A serve is 65g of cooked lean red meat such as beef, lamb, veal, pork, goat or kangaroo (about 90-100g raw).
Iron is also found in legumes (such as peas, beans and lentils), oily fish such as sardines, eggs, bread, green vegetables and breakfast cereals which added vitamins.
Liver is a good source of iron. However too much of which can be harmful.
Calcium is essential for building and forming bone. As we get older our requirement for calcium increases as calcium from food is not as absorbed as well. and we need extra serves of low fat milk, yogurt and cheese. Eating calcium-rich foods can help us from osteoporosis.
Good sources include dairy products such as milk, cheese and yoghurt. We should choose lower fat varieties if we can, or eat higher fat varieties in smaller amounts.
Calcium is also found in tinned fish with bones such as sardines, green leafy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage (but not spinach), soya beans and tofu.
Eating less salt
Too much salt can raise blood pressure, which puts us at increased risk of health problems such as heart disease or a stroke.
Most of the salt we eat is already in foods such as cereals, bread, tinned soups and other ready-prepared foods. We should check food labels before we buy and choose ones that contain less salt. We should not add more salt to our food when cooking.
Enough vitamin D
Vitamin D is important for bone health also to prevent osteoporosis. The best source of vitamin D is from UV sunlight. We only need to spend a short period of time in the sun each day to get enough vitamin D. Food alone can’t provide enough vitamin D, however dietary sources include eggs, oily fish, some fortified breakfast cereals and fortified spreads.
Having too much vitamin A (more than 1.5mg of vitamin A a day from food and supplements) might increase the risk of bone fracture.
Liver is high in vitamin A. We should not eat liver or liver products, such as pate, more than once a week, or eat them in smaller portions. If we eat liver more than once a week, we should not take any supplements containing vitamin A or fish liver oils (which also contain high levels of vitamin A).
Maintain healthy weight
As we grow older, if we’re overweight, we’ll become less mobile. This can affect our health and quality of life. Being overweight also increases risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
Being underweight isn’t healthy and may be a sign that we’re not eating enough or well food. Being underweight also increases the risk of osteoporosis.
If we’re worried about weight, we should ask our doctor to check it. They may refer us to a dietitian, who can advise us about changing what we eat to meet our current needs.
Lack of appetite
It is important to get all the energy and nutrients that our body needs.
If we don’t eat as much as we used to, eat smaller meals more often and supplement them with nutritious snacks, such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain toast.
We may eat less because we find it more difficult to buy or prepare food, or because we find it harder to get around if we have a condition such as arthritis.
We should eat regularly, at least 3 times a day. If we don’t feel like cooking from scratch, have a tinned, chilled or frozen ready-prepared meal instead. It’s a good idea to store foods in the freezer and cupboard in case we cannot go out.
Drink adequate water
We should drink plenty of fluids every day to stop getting dehydrated.
We should aim to drink at least 6 times a day, and more in warmer weather or if we’re exercising. Tea, coffee, mineral water, soda water and reduced fat milk can all count towards our fluid intake during the day, but water is always best.
Drinks that contain a lot of caffeine, such as strong tea and coffee, might make our body produce more urine. If we mostly drink strong tea or coffee (or other drinks that contain a lot of caffeine), make sure we also drink some water or other fluids each day that don’t contain caffeine.