As you age, your body’s dietary needs will change. These changes will continue throughout all life stages with the requirements for calories, protein, vitamins and minerals adjusting as we grow older. We need to take into account that we need different foods at certain times of our lives – for example:
- Infants & toddlers: mothers milk is full of nutrients and antibodies that infants need.
- Children: Key food groups to incorporate in a pre-school child’s diet include carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables, milk and dairy foods, protein and good quality fats. Ensuring the child has a balanced diet containing the essential food groups and nutrients – vitamin A, C, calcium, iron and zinc .
3.Teenagers: Due to the accelerated growth period a teenager goes through, they need a balanced diet packed full of nutrients including calcium, iron and protein. You may want to consider a vitamin and mineral supplement designed specifically for teenagers.
4.Adults: We can now shift our focus on nutrition and maintaining a physically active and healthy lifestyle. This will help reduce the risk of weight, age and lifestyle related diseases.
5.Pregnany and breastfeeding : A woman prepares herself to meet the nutritional demands by increasing her own body fat deposits during pregnancy and a lactating mother requires extra food to secrete adequate quantity/ quality of milk and to safeguard her own health.
6.Older adults: It is important to focus on good nutrition for the elderly as our bodies’ change and face a number of limitations when we grow older. Snacking on healthier options such as whole grain toast, fruit or porridge can help you get through the day .
The Basics remains same at all stages:
No matter what age we are the body needs a diet made up of lots of healthy and nutritious foods in order to function correctly.Our nutritional needs change with different life stages. To be fit and healthy, it is important to take into account the extra demands placed on your body by these changes. The basic components of any diet should include a combination of the following:
- A wide variety of nutritious foods
- Water on a daily basis
- Enough kilojoules for energy, with carbohydrates as the preferred source
- Essential fatty acids from foods such as oily fish, nuts, avocado
- Adequate protein for cell maintenance and repair
- Fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins
- Essential minerals such as iron, calcium and zinc
- Foods containing plant-derived phytochemicals, which may protect against heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis and osteoporosis.
- A varied diet that concentrates on fruits, vegetables, wholegrains, legumes, dairy foods and lean meats can meet these basic requirements.
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