Statistics show that Australians are living longer, yet few of us are excited about getting older.
The truth is, as we age, we are not only susceptible to common age-related changes, but at higher risk of developing chronic health conditions; some of which can lead to premature death, illness and disability.
Many older Australians live with more than one health condition that impacts their quality of life.
What can we expect as we age?
As we age, our body changes. Unfortunately, some of these changes can lead to compromised health and wellbeing. Some of the most common age-related changes include changes to your:
- Cardiovascular system — Your heart rate slows, blood vessels and arteries harden, causing your heart to work harder. This can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Joints, bones and muscles— Bones tend to shrink (both in size and density) making them susceptible to fractures. Muscles lose strength and flexibility which can lead to poorer coordination.
- Memory — Memory usually becomes less efficient and it may take you longer to learn new things.
- Eyes and ears — Problems focusing, dealing with glare and cataracts are common. You may also find it harder to hear clearly.
The importance of good nutrition
The simple truth is we can’t prevent our bodies from aging. However, we can take steps to be as healthy as we can and reduce the impact aging has on our lifestyle.
One of the most important is ensuring we receive adequate nutrition to support our body as it goes through these natural changes.
Nutrition is more than just eating food. It’s about the quality of our food. What we eat and drink has an enormous impact upon our health. As we age, there are several key nutrients essential for healthy aging. These include:
- Vitamin B12 — helps create red blood cells and maintains healthy nerve function
- Folate/Folic Acid — helps create healthy blood cells and supports healthy memory function, as well as hearing and sight
- Calcium — required for healthy strong bones
- Vitamin D — helps the body absorb calcium, required for bone health
- Potassium — aids bone strength and healthy blood pressure
- Magnesium — plays a crucial role in many bodily processes including heart health
The best way to ensure adequate vitamin and mineral intake is to eat a balanced diet, including the recommended five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day. However, 92 per cent of Australian adults do not eat enough vegetables and 52 per cent do not enough fruit.
In addition, Australians are eating too many ‘treat’ foods exceeding the recommended portions per day, at the expense of vital vitamins and minerals.
Accredited dietitian, Ms Helen Bauzon says Australians need to eat better to improve their health.
“Eating junk food has become mainstream. Many Australians eat it every day, meaning they don’t get enough essential vitamins, minerals and fibre. This can cause general illness, and may exacerbate other health conditions. Over indulging in these unhealthy foods also leads to obesity,” she says.
“Obesity then lends itself to chronic health issues such as diabetes, blood pressure, high cholesterol levels (leading to heart disease) and increased risk of bowel and breast cancer.”
Supplement your diet
A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, lean protein and low fat dairy is important as we age. However, lifestyles and appetites can change as we get older, which can sometimes make it difficult to meet dietary requirements.
That’s when a trusted, high-quality nutritional supplement can help.
By adding just two teaspoons daily to your favourite healthy liquid, you will be doing your body a favour.
Don’t let an older body prevent you from living your life to its fullest. Feed your body essential nutrition, and watch your health improve.