Eating well as you age.

Eat well, live well.

We all want to feel our best and enjoy the foods we like – and with a varied and healthy diet, we can!

Our nutritional needs change as we age, but it’s never too late to start eating healthier. By eating a balanced diet, with unhealthy foods in moderation, you can get the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy weight and an active lifestyle.

What are the best foods to stay healthy?

  • Fruit and vegetables

According to the NHS, we should aim to eat at least five portions of different coloured fruit and vegetables a day to get the range of vitamins, minerals and fibre we need. These can be fresh, frozen or canned.

  • Protein

Beans, pulses, fish, eggs and meat are just some examples of proteins you can include as part of your balanced diet. As well as protein, these foods contain minerals and vitamins that help maintain and repair the body. You can also eat meat substitutes such as tofu or Quorn.

The Eatwell Guide also recommends that we eat oily fish twice a week, such as salmon and mackerel. Fish contain vitamin D, a fat that can help reduce risk of heart disease.

  • Fibre

Did you know you need 30g of fibre a day in your diet? (NHS)

Most of us need to eat more fibre. Wholemeal, pulses and beans, fruits and vegetables all contain lots of fibre which give us energy and nutrients and help us to feel fuller. Eating wholegrain versions like brown rice, wholegrain bread or pasta as well as the skins on potatoes, provide us with good sources of B vitamins, minerals and fibre which helps prevent constipation.

  • Dairy and alternatives

Another great source of protein and vitamins. Dairy and alternatives also provide a good source of calcium for keeping bones strong. If you have been advised to reduce fat content in your diet then you can try to lower-fat versions, such as semi-skimmed milk, half-fat cheese and low-fat paneer – but always check the labels some of these products have higher sugar contents.

  • Oils and spreads

There are healthy and unhealthy fats. Omega-3 is a great source of fat. Foods high in this fat include mackerel, eggs, walnuts, flax seeds and kidney beans. Other fats we should keep to a minimum such as butter and oils as eating too much saturated fat can increase our risk of heart disease.


How much fluid should I be drinking every day?

Our bodies need lots of water to support functions like digestion, without it we can become dehydrated, lose concentration, and even feel less energetic. The NHS recommends that we aim for 6-8 glasses a day, which can include milk, soups, tea and coffee.

Medical conditions can impact the amount of water recommended for you. Speak to your doctor about how much fluid you should drink.


Maintaining a healthy weight

Being overweight or underweight can come with health risks. It is important that we try to maintain a healthy weight. You can ask your doctor what a healthy weight is for you.

Poor appetite and weight loss

Eating too little for our bodies can cause weight loss, and lead to low mood and energy due to lack of essential vitamins and minerals. It is important to look out for signs like clothes and jewellery feeling looser. If you do feel as if your appetite is small, the NHS website has lots of great advice on how to combat this.

Some examples include:

  • Eating six smaller meals and snacks such as yoghurt, cheese and crackers, rather than biscuits and sweets, each day instead of three main meals
  • Having food such as cans of soup or frozen meals at home for when you need a quick snack or meal
  • Increasing movement and keeping active during the day that’s suitable for you
  • Ask for help if cooking or shopping becomes difficult

Losing weight

We can become at risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some cancers if we are overweight. The NHS recommends if you have gained weight throughout your life to try to lose it slowly. They advise keeping a food diary, writing everything you eat each day and looking at where you can cut down or change habits. Consult your doctor if you are looking to lose weight. Being active can also help in maintaining a healthy weight or losing excess weight.

For more information visit the NHS website and consult your doctor before any major diet changes. What are your tips for eating healthy? Let us know in the comments below.