When it comes to nutritional needs for adults, I get asked often about what is the MOST important food or foods to eat. The truth is that what you need to eat to promote a healthy body and mind will vary based on your gender, age, and any existing health concerns you may have.
But there are some general rules to follow when it comes to nutritional needs for adults – especially when it comes to your age (and age-related weight gain), as our bodies and nutritional needs evolve over time. See below for what I suggest, consult with your doctor if you have more questions, and consider signing up for a free trial of my Whole Body Eating Plan: it includes a 10-Week guide, hundreds of recipes that you customize to taste and preference, and more!
Omega-3 Rich Foods. Women who are breast feeding or pregnant should be especially careful to eat a diet that includes salmon and sardines, flax and chia seeds, walnuts (check out my video on how to roast walnuts!), and omega-3 enriched eggs. These contain essential fatty acid, that are critical for a baby’s growth and development.
Whole Grain Foods that Contain Folic Acid. Whole grains provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein, and when you choose versions that also contain folic acid, women get the extra benefit of helping to prevent some birth defects if they are pregnant. But everyone should get whole grains into their diet, so add brown rice, quinoa, popcorn and oatmeal to your diet. (My Meal Plan has some delicious oatmeal recipes – start your free trial to get the details!)
Dark, Leafy Greens. These provide important nutrients and vitamins to help your body stay strong and healthy. Think spinach, kale, and collard greens.
Gut-Healthy Foods. It is common for digestive issues to begin to creep up in our 40s, so help keep your gut health by eating foods with probiotics, or taking a probiotic supplement. Foods with probiotics include fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut; you can also get probiotics through my EVER BETTER™ Protein Cookie Bites, which offer up 1 Billion CFU of probiotics in every serving!
An Array of Fruits and Vegetables. In addition to eating plenty of dark leafy greens (which should be a lifelong commitment!), make it a point to have an array of colors on your plate. Every color of fruit and veggie offers different benefits (think red and purple foods such as watermelon and berries for prostate health, and orange foods for eye-healthy beta carotene), so “paint your plate,” as I like to say!
Foods High in Fiber. Our 50s is when staying regular can become a challenge, so in addition to fiber-rich whole grains, begin to incorporate other fiber-rich foods such as beans and legumes, broccoli, berries and avocados.
Inflammation-Fighting Foods. Help minimize inflammation with the addition of turmeric, salmon, olive oil and even dark chocolate… these foods can also help to promote heart health and a healthy weight, when eaten in moderation!
Plant-Based Protein. To help keep your heart healthy, at this point in your life you may want to begin to substitute in plant-based protein for animal protein, such as red meat. Consider a meat-free bean chili, tossing lentils into your salads, or fajitas with tofu instead of steak.
Olive Oil. The benefits of extra-virgin olive oil are numerous: it is rich in monounsaturated fats, loaded with antioxidants, can help to fight inflammation, can reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol and blood pressure… the list goes on! Extra virgin olive oil is my oil of choice, and I use it in so many things – including baked goods!
Berries. These rival olive oil in their benefits – berries are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and many nutrients, and when regularly incorporated into a diet, can help to fight inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, improve blood sugar levels, protect against cancer, and are even good for your skin!
I hope these nutritional needs for adults guidelines help you navigate a healthy – and delicious! – diet throughout your lifetime. Every little bit of healthy food counts, so don’t beat yourself up if you treat yourself, just make sure to eat healthy the next day! It’s all about balance, so enjoy!
Let’s get fitter, together – inside and out,