Whether you just turned 60 or you’re well into your golden years, it’s important that you’re eating foods that keep your heart and mind healthy.
As Angie Asche MS, RD, CSSD owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition and author of Fuel Your Body tells Eat This, Not That!, cardiovascular disease is at the top of the list of health concerns for this age group. While consuming a healthy, well-balanced diet is key for staving off the disease, getting plenty of physical activity should also be prioritized.
“This is an especially important time to be physically active. Strength training is essential for reducing the effects of sarcopenia and keeping our bones strong,” says Asche. “Walking and swimming are fantastic low-impact activities to promote cardiovascular health.”
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When it comes to diet, though, there are myriad foods you can eat to help keep chronic diseases (from heart disease to osteoporosis) at bay. But instead of listing out specific foods, it’s best to make sure you’re consuming a variety of foods with diverse nutrient profiles. Here are the best types of foods to eat every day if you’re over 60, and for even more healthy eating tips, be sure to check out our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
“As we age, our total caloric needs (energy needs) decreases due to a decrease in our resting metabolic rate,” says Asche. “However, our protein needs are increased in an effort to minimize loss of muscle mass, strength, and function.”
While the RDA of protein is 0.8 grams of kilograms of body weight per day, Asche recommends that people over 60 ramp up their intake to at least 1.2 kilograms a day. (Note, you’ll want to convert your weight from pounds to kilograms to calculate your daily needs!).
“High-quality protein sources such as salmon, eggs, and dairy, all provide essential amino acids,” says Asche. “Choose high protein breakfast options to start your day. such as Kodiak Cakes buttermilk pancake mix or eggs.”
For context, one serving of these pancakes packs 14 grams of protein.
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“Calcium and vitamin D needs are both especially important for optimizing bone health, and needs will be increased for this age group,” Asche adds.
Dairy is both a good source of calcium and vitamin D. However aside from that, there are plenty of other foods that are rich in calcium such as broccoli rabe, cooked leafy greens, navy beans, and chia seeds. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are both good sources of vitamin D, as well.
“Aim to consume a variety of fatty fish, which will provide both protein and omega-3 fatty acids which play an important role in inflammation,” says Asche.
Another important nutrient the registered dietitian says is essential to prioritize is fiber.
“Fiber has been shown to reduce the risk of developing various conditions including heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and diverticular disease,” she says. “Aim to incorporate a wide variety of plant foods for fiber, for example, raspberries, leafy greens, chia seeds, flaxseed, oats, chickpeas, and quinoa.”
For more, be sure to check out The Best and Worst Foods for Women Over 50.
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