Considering nutrition changes as we age

Photo courtesy of Metro Creative

The half-century mark of age 50 is a milestone for many individuals, as it brings on new medical tests and health issues signaling that a change in diet might be necessary.

“As we get older, based on our previous eating habits, we develop high cholesterol, diabetes, heart conditions, standard illnesses … and traditionally the way they’ve been dealt with is ‘take a pill.’ But the health effects when you eat properly are phenomenal,” explained Barbara Frantz, owner and farmer of Tess’ Community Farm Kitchen.

While the task of altering your diet may seem daunting, there are thousands of resources online, in health stores and medical offices ready to guide you in the right direction. Always talk to a medical professional before beginning a new diet plan.

John Muir Health Services suggests that individuals over the age of 50 eat fresh, whole foods on a daily basis. These include colorful fruits and vegetables, cold water fish, proteins from nuts and legumes, whole grains and low-fat and calcium-rich foods such as milk or yogurt. 

“A diet low in saturated fats with five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day can go a long way toward enhancing your health,” said Lawren Hicks, M.D., John Muir Health medical director of senior services. 

Calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies are also proven to be fairly common among older adults. It is suggested that older, healthy adults consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium every day and a Vitamin D supplement if necessary.

While the task of completely changing your diet may seem overwhelming, there are simple ways to go about it. For instance, preparing your meals a week ahead of time can alleviate the stress of making a new meal each day. 

“I’ll take a Sunday morning, and I’ll make up a bunch of food for the week,” said Frantz. “For example, salads in a jar. You can take canning jars and you can stack salad ingredients. Then when the day comes, you just tilt the jar over and you’ve got a fresh salad.”

Your weekly meals can be as simple as riced cauliflower pizza crust with organic toppings and as complex as caprese chicken. 

Finding new, healthy recipes to try is much simpler than it may sound. Contact a health professional for meals suggestions, or research lean and green meals online for a variety of options.

Before altering your diet, make sure to reach out to your doctor. Personal health issues, medications or lifestyles may limit dietary choices.

Tess’ Community Farm Kitchen is located at 8091 Balfour Road. For more information, call 800-800-5373. 

Hicks practices out of Walnut Creek, at 1450 Treat Blvd. For more information, call 925-296-9724.