Food For All Ages | A look at the ideal foods to eat healthily at every stage of life From the moment we make our kicking-screaming entrance into this world, food is one of only a handful of things that we would perish without. But we can’t just ingest any food at any age, not if we want to have a fighting chance at the madness that is life. And in this, food is our greatest ally.
May 31, 2022 / 05:22 PM IST
From the moment we make our kicking-screaming entrance into this world, food is one of only a handful of things that we would perish without. But we can’t just ingest any food at any age, not if we want to have a fighting chance at the madness that is life. And in this, food is our greatest ally. Here are the ideal ingredients to eat healthily at every stage of life – from toddlers to septuagenarians and beyond.
A few ingredients, like fruits and veggies, should always have a place in the diet, no matter the age.
Research suggests fish and fish oil, rich in Omega-3, could have a role in brain and eye development.
Calcium is crucial for growing children. For adults over 30, each day that the body doesn’t get enough calcium, it leaches it from our bones, making them weak and brittle.
0-2 years | The under-twos need a lot of iron and use up a lot of energy because of their fast growth rate. There’s not enough iron in breast milk, but eggs, iron-rich vegetables like spinach and full-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese provide building blocks of a broad and balanced diet.
Two years old to teens | Bone grows rapidly through this period. So iron and calcium-rich food is essential. Semi-skimmed milk and lower fat dairy options are ideal for forming healthy habits.
Teens and young adults | Diet should be balanced and nutrient rich, and should include fruits and veggies, lean meat, and pulses. This is the age to discover the world, including new flavors and ingredients from different countries.
20s | The body is at peak health. But this period can be marked with alcohol excess, which is detrimental if taken without food.
30s | Increasing folate intake can reduce the risk of neutral tube defects in women trying to conceive. Good sources of folate are dark leafy greens and whole grains.
40s | Antioxidants protect the skin and body from cell damage. These are found in brightly colored fruits and veggies.
50s | Weight management, diabetes, heart disease prevention are the focus now. Switching saturated fats – mostly animal fats – for unsaturated fats is the key.
60s | Protein helps to gain muscle for exercise enthusiasts and weight loss to dieters who are drawn to its ability to make people feel fuller for longer (and therefore consume fewer calories).
70s | People’s eating habits change around this age. Appetite decreases, especially when people retire and are less active. Meals should include all nutrients.