March 1, 2023

Did you know that nutritional needs change as you age? Not many people know that eating healthy, balanced meals becomes more important as you age. This is because aging is related to many changes like nutrient deficiencies, decreased quality of life, and poor health outcomes. As you age, you’re less able to absorb important nutrients that your body needs to function and are more able to excrete or eliminate nutrients. The two nutrients that your body is less able to absorb as you age are calcium and iron. Some other nutrients that can benefit you as you age are potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium. Here is everything you need to know about keeping up with your nutritional needs as you age. 

 Hormonal changes decrease calcium absorption because of the increase of calcium loss through the kidneys. You might become lactose intolerant because of this, which causes people to decrease their dairy intake, which is a loss of a great source of calcium. Most people don’t consume enough dairy products or vegetables to get the needed amount of calcium from their diet and should think about taking supplements to fulfill these needs. The calcium needs for your body can vary with age or medical conditions. In general, adults should consume about 1,000 mg a day, and if you’re over the age of fifty, you should increase the amount to 1,200 mg a day. 

 Iron is the other nutrient that your body is less able to absorb as you age. Iron is important to your body because it helps carry oxygen to your cells. Iron is very difficult to consume because most foods only contain a little iron. The best source of iron is red meat, but you can also get iron from poultry, fish, whole grain breads or cereals, dry beans, some fruits, and vegetables. Women over the age of 50 should consume 50 mg of iron a day whereas men only need 10 mg a day. 

 There are also three nutrients that can improve your quality life as you age. A higher intake of potassium is related to a lower risk of high blood pressure, kidney stones, osteoporosis, and heart disease, all of which are common as you age. Omega-3 fatty acids are also important to consume, due to the fact that studies have shown that they can lower heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and triglycerides. Also, magnesium is an important mineral that helps your body function. But, as you age you are at risk of deficiency because of poor intake, medication use, and age-related changes in gut function. 

 In conclusion, as you age you need to consume more nutrients because your body is more able to excrete and eliminate nutrients and is less able to absorb them. You can consume more nutrients by eating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, red meat, poultry, and fish. It is also easier to consume the right amount of nutrients for your body to function by taking supplements. Supplements are easy to take and allow your body to have the right amount of certain nutrients. Just be careful to consume the right amounts of the supplements because consuming too much could be harmful. 

JK Community Farm not only helps local children and adults keep up their nutritional needs as they age, but also the elderly. They do this by growing organic, nutrient whole foods like beef, pork, venison, green peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes, and so much more with the help of hundreds of volunteers. Then donate the produce to local food banks like Loudoun Hunger, Food for Others, and more.