Healthy eating for any age involves such basic tenets as eating three meals a day with nutrient dense snacks in-between, eating foods from a variety different food groups, especially fruits and vegetables, and eating when hungry/stopping when full.

However, as life changes and progresses there are different nutrients that have a specific call to certain age groups. Have a look at ways to optimize your nutrition for your age.

The Teen Years

Eating well helps teens to maintain enough energy for school, sports and other activities, and to reach their full height potential.

Teens can go a long way by including healthy snacks in their diet such as almond butter or peanut butter with celery, carrots, or an apple, high quality protein bars such as Perfect Foods, or Rise Bar, yogurt, trail mix, low sugar granola, hummus with whole grain toast instead of the regular teenage fare of chips, cookies and fast foods.  A developing and growing brain prefers healthy fat as its source for fuel and snacks are a great way to support that.

The ideal foods for teens to balance the body’s energy needs are complex carbohydrates. More than any other time in life, healthy carbs are needed in the teen years. Encourage teens to eat whole grains, legumes, and root vegetables to satisfy this nutritional need.

AGE 25-40

This is the time of life when people need to work harder to balance their stress hormones because getting out in the work force, building a career, starting a family and other life stressors are at their highest. Individuals in this age range should safeguard themselves against adrenal fatigue or burnout. Potassium is great nutrient for the adrenal glands. The foods below are highest in potassium:

Swiss Chard

Kelp

Sunflower Seeds

Almonds

Raisins

Parsley

Figs

Avocados

Yams

Pecans

Over 50

As we grow older, the absorption and digestion of proteins and minerals becomes more difficult leading to a variety of ailments such as osteoporosis, fatigue, and chronic illness. Take necessary precautions with these five essential nutrients for anyone over 50.

1: Betaine Hydrochloride: Our bodies digest foods less efficiently as we age; yet nutrients from our foods are a critical component to good health. Older people often do not secrete enough stomach acid in their gastrointestinal tract because stomach acid declines as we age. Betaine hydrochloride can support digestion when taken with meals and may be taken in conjunction with digestive enzymes.

2: Vitamin B-12: Insufficient Vitamin B-12 levels can lead to fatigue, brain fog, and a higher risk of heart disease. Vitamin B-12 is particularly hard to absorb as we age, so a sublingual supplement is suggested.

3: Magnesium: Magnesium is often overlooked and is essential to your cellular health. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables! Kelp provides a rich source of magnesium, as do all sea vegetables.

4: Vitamin D: Vitamin D is another essential nutritional supplement. Not only is Vitamin D critical for bone health, but it also decreases the chance of breast cancer. The most concentrated sources of natural vitamin D are found in fatty fishes like tuna, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and anchovies as well as egg yolks. If these foods are not high on your weekly intake list, a vitamin D supplement is a great choice.

5: Protein: The final component for basic nutritional health is simply to include adequate protein in your diet. Choose foods that are rich in high-quality protein, such as organic eggs, free-range chicken and lamb, and ocean wild-caught fish. Protein deficiency can cause muscle mass to decrease. Also, our brains need protein because the neurotransmitters in our brains are made out of the amino acids from protein. Nuts and legumes contain protein as well, but are not as concentrated as the protein found in meat and animal products.