Eat your way into better ageing

One of the secrets of ageing well is eating well.

As we age, our appetite often wanes, so it’s important to pack as much nutrition into every bite.

It’s also important to make sure we have the dietary tools at hand to protect from brittle bones, chronic disease and maintain cognitive function.

A good diet also promotes general physical and mental health.

It sounds like a lot to ask, so here’s our guide to start you off.


As mentioned above, eating well as you age is all about cramming as many nutrients as you can into every meal. But that doesn’t mean high kilojoules, instead, we are looking at foods that give you the most bang for your buck.

Good examples include eggs, berries, salmon and sardines, green leafy vegetables such as kale, garlic, shellfish, nuts and seeds, avocados, potatoes and cocoa and dark chocolate.

No one is expecting you to eat all of these every day. Frankly, a kale-based meal sounds dreadful, but it’s a good idea to incorporate them more into your diet. Why not start early in the day with scrambled eggs? Spend the rest of the day congratulating yourself on your choices.

Another good tip is to leave a bowl of nuts and seeds on your kitchen bench for an easy and rewarding snack as you pass by.

Drink water

Being dehydrated is never good, but it can be hazardous as you age.

The hard reality is that as we slow down, our organs also slow down, so they need the best support they can to work well, and a vital component of that is hydration.

Perhaps the best example is your kidneys need plenty of fluids to work effectively, otherwise you could suffer from a fluid imbalance in your body. This in turn could lead to dizziness, confusion and even an irregular heartbeat. Not great when you are young, but potentially fatal when you are older.

If you don’t feel up to drinking a lot of water daily, you can boost your intake by eating foods with a high-water intake such as yoghurt, jellies, soups and broths.

Or mix it up by dropping a lemon or other slice of citrus into your water to give it a bit of a zing.

Eat fibre

You know how we mentioned our organs slowing down? Well, that includes our digestive system as well.

But no one is going to make you drink ghastly fibre drinks or force down supplements. It’s easy to improve your fibre intake.

Here are some ideas:

Pick a fruit or vegetable you like and try and incorporate that more into your diet. Do you love grapes? Well, then always have a bowl of them on hand during the season.

Pecans, almonds and walnuts are high in fibre. Add them to the dish of snacks as mentioned above.

Try including more legumes and seeds in your diet. Some good ideas are adding lentils or barley to your soup or stew. You can even puree cooked lentils to thicken a casserole, soup or stew.

Switch up your bread from white to wholemeal or multigrain. If you haven’t tried the high-fibre options lately, you may be surprised. Don’t give up, there’s a bread out there for you.

And try to eat more brown rice. Its nutty chewy flavour means it deserves to be more popular. I’m not sure how white rice won out when brown rice is easier to make, but there’s one of life’s mysteries for you.


It’s a sad fact that the older you get, the more muscle mass you lose.

To counter this inevitable decline, you should keep up your exercise, but you should also try and incorporate more protein in your diet.

Easy sources of protein include meat, fish, eggs and seafood, dairy and soy products.

The good news is protein is a bit of a buzz word in diets now, so there are plenty of foods and drinks with added protein and protein-heavy ready-to-go meals.

Take it easy

If you are finding it hard to radically change your diet, that’s okay, why not try steadily swapping out the old to the new?

If you have been eating processed cereal for breakfast, try adding some fruit on top. Love white bread? Who doesn’t? But you can buy high-fibre versions. And find a food mentioned above and regularly ‘treat’ yourself, that way it doesn’t become a chore.

Eating is one of the joys of life, don’t make yourself miserable trying to eat ‘right’.

Have you had to change your diet as you age? Why not share your experience in the comments section below?

Also read: How to eat your way to better sleep

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.
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