Nutritional Needs of Older Men
It might come as a surprise to a lot of men but their nutritional needs are more complicated than they think, especially as they get older. A man in his 30’s has a different nutritional requirement than a man in his 60s. Even if he has always been physically active, an older man won’t be able to eat the same amount or kind of food that he did when he was younger. It’s because as we get older, our metabolism slows down and our energy levels start to drop.
Why paying attention to your nutritional needs is important
Even if a man doesn’t require the same amount of calories in his daily intake as he gets older doesn’t mean he can eat whatever he wants. As a matter of fact, it’s imperative for an older man to seriously think about his nutritional needs. Aging makes a person more susceptible to bone loss, muscle loss and eye problems.
Men should never forget the saying “You are what you eat.” It’s a universal truth that holds especially true as one gets older. A man who maintains good nutrition as he get older ensures that he will live longer and stronger. Getting the right amount of key nutrients also leads to a sharp mind and a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
Food the body needs as it ages
It’s so easy for a young man to develop muscle mass via a combination of good diet and regular exercise. However, it’s common for muscle to change to fat with age. A man who wants to maintain his muscle mass has to calibrate his nutritional needs. The good news is that it’s possible to keep in shape even as one age through a balanced diet and the right amount of physical activity.
Choosing the right food becomes even more crucial the older we get. So a man should make sure he eats the following –
- Fruits: The idea is to get more fiber and vitamins so opt for whole fruits rather than fruit juices. Go for 1 ½ – 2 servings a day (more if you can).
- Vegetables: Aim for 2 – 2 ½ cups a day. Choose greens that are rich in antioxidants like broccoli, kale and spinach. Carrots, squash and other orange and yellow vegetables are also ideal.
- Protein: Adults over 50 who are relatively healthy (i.e without diabetes or any kidney problems) require about .5g of protein per pound of their body weight. Protein sources should come from more than red meat. Adding more beans, eggs, fish, peas, nuts, low-fat milk and cheese can help add more protein to one’s diet.
- Grains: Older men need about 6-7 ounces of grains every day. Opt for whole grains instead of white flour.
- Calcium: Men often overlook their calcium needs as they get older. While a woman’s need for extra calcium as she gets older is well documented, a lot of people remain ignorant of the fact that men need it too. About 25% of men 50 years old and above will suffer from osteoporosis or will experience osteoporosis related injuries. Older adults require 1,200mg of calcium a day that they can source from milk, cheese, yogurt, almonds, broccoli, kale and tofu.
It doesn’t matter what age you are. Whether you are a young man in his 20’s or an older gentleman in his 50’s, eating well and eating healthy should be an integral part of your life.