Essential foods for healthy ageing

Adapting your diet as you get older can lead to improved health and quality of life, according to dietitian Joel Feren.

“Over the age of 65, our energy requirements are lower so our bodies need fewer calories, but there are some nutrients we actually need more of,” Joel said.

1. Calcium

Joel recommends 1300 milligrams of calcium per day because the gut becomes less efficient as we get older.

Calcium is essential for strong, healthy bones and can be found in dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese and in vegetables such as kale and broccoli.

“Smoothies can be a great way to get extra dairy and fruit in the diet,” Joel said.

2. Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and can be found in foods like fish, milk, eggs and red meat.

3. Protein

“Protein is important for the immune system and for retaining muscle mass, which is critical as you get older,” Joel said.

Preserving muscle mass helps to maintain your stability and reduce the risk of falls. Make sure you’re getting enough protein by incorporating lean meat, eggs and nuts into your daily diet.

4. Vitamin B

“The eight Vitamin Bs—commonly termed the B complex—are really important for our metabolism and help us get the energy we need from food,” Joel said.

Grains, nuts, leafy greens, eggs and dairy are just some of the foods containing the different Vitamin Bs.

5. Balance

At every age, we should aim to maintain a balanced diet that incorporates dairy, protein, grains, fruit and vegetables. But even non-core foods can have both emotional and health benefits.

“Sometimes discretionary foods like butters, cheeses, creams and custards can be a wonderful option to provide certain nutrients,” Joel said.

“First and foremost, food should be about pleasure.

“It’s about promoting quality of life.”

Selected RetireAustralia villages provide freshly prepared meals as part of their care service offering and our chefs work hard to deliver balanced and delicious food that meets nutritional requirements for older Australians.

Consult your dietitian or doctor to ensure your diet is suited to your individual circumstances.

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