Optimal diet needn’t be a mid-life crisis

As we age, all of us have to be mindful of our diet. Moderation is no longer enough, so we need to be smarter about what we eat, if we wish to stay young and avoid packing on the pounds. No-one is exempt. Even those ectomorphic types, who in their youth managed to stay slim no matter what; eating and drinking librally and only occasonally exercising.

With a lower metabolic rate and decreased energy levels, it becomes ever more important to watch what you eat. I have blogged before about the benefits of smart eating and avoiding sugar, so won’t repeat myself here. Instead I want to extend my previous article, where I extol the virtues of gym workouts. For optimal health and well-being in later life, we need to consider our dietary needs, and try to retain testosterone and muscle-tone.


Sources: Eggs, Meat, Dairy, Nuts, Lentils

Resistance training reduces the rate of muscle Atrophy as we get older (as mentioned in my previous article) and coupled with a higher-protein diet can reverse the effect. Protein rich foods, such as lean meats, fish, dairy products and cearals should be part of every middle-aged persons diet for optimal health. There is also a good case for Protein Supplementation to help avoid comsumption of excess saturated fats or where dietary restrictions apply (e.g. Lactose intolerance).


Sources: Red Meats, Eggs, Oily Fish.

There is a general misunderstanding about the importance of fat in your diet. Studies have shown that low-fat diets will lower testosterone levels, which is not desirable given that age also reduces this. Testosterone, as discussed in the previous article not only tones muscles (helping to burn bodyfat) but improves sleep quality, sex drive and general sense of well-being for both men and women. In a later article (Fat – Friend or Foe), I explore the different ‘types’ of dietary fat. Basically, to retain desired testosterone levels requires Saturated and Mono-Saturated fatty acids. Whereas Poly-saturates and Trans-fatty acids have the opposite effect.

This does not mean you should regularly be gorging on Burgers and Chips to help combat aging! Instead, look to balance your diet with mono-saturates (such as Olive Oil, Avacados etc) and Oily fish; also high in Omega-3 (more on this below).

Vitamin D3

Sources: Oily Fish, Cereals

The health benefits of Vitamin D are widely known, such as its ability to boost the immune system **. However, one lesser known property of Vitamin D is that it can also help with Calcium absorption. Calcium is essential to build and maintain healthy bones. Yet, as we age, we are less able to absorb calcium; probably at time when we need it most.

Vitamin D3, the natural form given by sunlight, requires supplementation as we get older. Due to thinning skin, exposure to the sun (even in warmer climates) is ususally not enough.

** There are also some studies that suggest Vitamin D reduces risk of COVID-19.

Omega 3-6-9

Sources: Nuts, Flaxseed Oil, Oily Fish

Aging is associated with reduced ability to synthesise amino-acids – the building blocks of protein. As mentioned above, protein absorption is essential for retaining muscle mass. Studies have shown that increased consumption of Omega 3 helps the body to absorb protein in the diet and thus improve strength and fitness as a result. Besides, Omega 3 and 6 deficiency has also been associated with lower hip-bone density, particularly in senior women. So should be added to any diet.

Vitamin B12

Sources: Eggs, meat, dairy, oily-fish and Marmite

Ability to absorb Vitamin B12 can also be a concern as we age. The reason being because our stomach acid and enzymes needed to synthesise the vitamin become less effective. Vitamin B12 helps to convert our food into energy. So boosting it will benefits our workouts and help us to feel energized.

You may have noticed the superfood here is Oily-Fish, which provides most of the nutrients needed for the optimal diet. The general guidance is to eat Oily-fish twice a week. Examples are: Mackerel, Salmon, Herring and Sardines. Once again though, this can assisted through supplementation if necessary.

These are by no means the only nutrients we should be mindful of as we get older. However, I wanted to concentrate on those which compliment resistance training and retain muscle and strength in particular. If you wish to read about other nutrients worthy of consideration there are a number of good resources to be found on the internet, one such I can recommend is Healthline.com.

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