February 20, 2023
From hormones and weight to bone density, your body changes in each decade of your life. If you’re in your thirties or forties, you’re probably well aware you can’t eat what you did in your twenties.
As you age, your nutritional needs change. While everyone should be drinking adequate amounts of water and eating the same essential healthy foods – lean protein, fiber, omega-3 fats, and lots of fresh vegetables and fruits – here are some more nutrient-packed foods that become more important depending on your age:
Proteins – (Chicken, seafood, beans, eggs) Your body is still developing and needs proteins to build and heal muscle tissue.
Complex carbohydrates – (Sweet potatoes, rolled oats, 100% whole grain bread) In this active portion of your life, you need this fuel source to keep your energy up.
Calcium-rich foods – (Milk, cottage cheese, dark leafy greens) As your bone formation reaches its end, calcium helps elevate your bone density.1
Fiber – (Rolled oats, berries, green vegetables) Fiber and antioxidants reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer.
Fatty fish – (Salmon, sardines, freshwater trout) The omega-3 fats in fish promote health benefits like better brain function, reduced inflammation, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. And if you’re starting a family, omega-3s are crucial to a baby’s brain development.2
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables – (Bell peppers, strawberries, beets) It’s all about the antioxidants which can slow the aging process and prevent cell damage that can lead to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and other conditions.
Whole grains – (Whole wheat, brown rice, rolled oats) These help digestion and can help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control.
Fermented foods – (Sauerkraut, sour pickles, yogurt) Keep your gut bacteria balanced and boost your digestion with this category of foods.3
Plant-based proteins – (Whole grains, beans, protein powders) Your body still needs protein, preferably from plant sources, which also provide valuable nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Fiber-rich foods – (Broccoli, raspberries, lentils) Aim for a minimum of 25g of fiber daily to improve digestion, reduce gastrointestinal inflammation, and keep cholesterol in check.4 Five cups of broccoli, three cups of raspberries, and a little more than one and a half cups of lentils each have 25g of fiber.5
Along with exercising regularly and getting quality sleep, giving your body the nutrients it needs most can help you look and feel healthier at every age.
In addition to the food groups above, here’s a quick reference guide to specific foods that offer optimal nutrition for your age:6
If you are not feeling well or have any concerns about the current state of your health, talk to an MDLIVE board-certified doctor in minutes. For more health tips and information, explore our blog.