Our nutritional needs change as we get older
Eating healthy becomes especially important as you age.
That’s because aging is linked to a variety of changes, including nutrient deficiencies, decreased quality of life and poor health outcomes.
Luckily, there are things you can do to help prevent deficiencies and other age-related changes. For example, eating nutrient-rich foods and taking the appropriate supplements can help keep you healthy as you age.
Aging is linked to a variety of changes in the body, including muscle loss, thinner skin and less stomach acid. Some of these changes can make you prone to nutrient deficiencies, while others can affect your senses and quality of life. For example, studies have estimated that 20% of elderly people have atrophic gastritis, a condition in which chronic inflammation has damaged the cells that produce stomach acid (1). Low stomach acid can affect the absorption of nutrients, such as vitamin B12, calcium, iron and magnesium (1, 2Trusted Source). Another challenge of aging is a reduced need for calories. Unfortunately, this creates a nutritional dilemma. Older adults need to get just as much, if not more, of some nutrients, all while eating fewer calories. Fortunately, eating a variety of whole foods and taking a supplement can help you meet your nutrient needs. Another issue people may experience as they age is a reduction in their body’s ability to recognize vital senses like hunger and thirst (3Trusted Source, 4). This could make you prone to dehydration and unintentional weight loss. And the older you get, the harsher these consequences may be (3Trusted Source, 4).
Aging is linked to muscle loss, thinner skin and reduced stomach acid. Your ability to recognize hunger and thirst may also be reduced as you age.