Eating well for every age: Female focus
Ever wondered what foods should you be eating for your age? Whilst a balanced diet is important at any time of life, our age can impact our nutrient requirements. For example, the nutrients which were more important in our teens may be different in our 40’s.
The report indicates the women in older age groups are paying more attention to the food they eat in relation to their health and nutritional values, but according to leading nutritionist Lily Soutter, having a greater understanding of what’s important and when can be hugely beneficial to leading a healthy balanced lifestyle.
The most important factors when cooking at home for women aged:
- 25-34: The convenience of ingredients (57%), cost of ingredients (56%) and taste (51%)
- 34-44: Cost of ingredients (55%), convenience of ingredients (52%), maintaining overall health (47%)
- 45-54: Convenience of ingredients (54%), maintaining overall health (50%), achieving the right taste (48%)
- 55+: Maintaining overall health (62%), achieving the right taste (57%), nutritional value (50%)
Teaming up with Goodlife to share her expert knowledge, Lily reveals what women should be eating to keep yourself in peak condition throughout all stages of life, plus delicious recipe ideas for both younger and older ages..
As children reach school age, their energy and nutrient requirements will be higher for their body size in comparison to an adult. These requirements increase due to rapid growth and increased activity that takes place at this age.
As a general rule of thumb, from the age of 5, children should follow the principles of the EatWell Guide (2) and include a range of starchy carbohydrates within the diet as well as some protein and dairy foods. It is important that children consume their 5 a day, with one portion being the amount they can fit into the palm of their hand.
Whilst we all know that fruits and veg are important, getting children to eat more of these can be a challenge. Hiding veggies into common foods such as burgers and ‘meat balls’ can be a delicious and savvy way of increasing their intake. Goodlife’s veggie range provides a clever and efficient way of making vegetables the star of the show.
Growth spurts and hormonal changes sum up the teenage years in a nutshell! These bodily changes increase energy and nutrient requirements. For example, calcium demands are higher for this age group to support rapid growth. What’s more, UK data has shown a huge 46% of teenage girls have low iron intakes, whilst vitamin A, zinc and iodine are also of concern (1). Encouraging teenagers to have a balanced yet nourishing diet can support optimal growth and wellbeing.
- Calcium sources – milk, yoghurt, fortified plant-based milk/yoghurts, canned fish, soybeans and their associated products such as Goodlife’s Spicy Beanburger
- Iron sources – meat, fish, beans, pulses, nuts, dark green leafy vegetables, dried fruit and fortified bread and cereals
Young adults starting their careers often lead busy lifestyles, which means a healthy diet can take a back seat. Yet, laying down good foundations with healthy dietary habits may help to reduce the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Fuelling the body with simple, yet smart eating strategies are key to supporting optimal energy and wellbeing. When time poor it can be all too easy to fall short on nourishing foods, in fact, just 28% of us consume our 5-a-day (3) and most of us are drastically under consuming our 30g daily fibre target (4).
Increasing our intake of these nourishing foods doesn’t have to be time consuming or boring, for example, just one Goodlife’s Spicy Beanburger provides as much as 9.6g of fibre while and contributes to our 5 a day, whist the whole range can be cooked in under 30 minutes, making them a speedy and nutritious mid-week meal idea.
A common decade for pregnancy; therefore, nutritional strategies to support fertility are important. Females should be mindful of obtaining adequate folate within the diet to supporting healthy pregnancies. Folate can be obtained from green veggies such as spinach, kale, brussels sprouts and broccoli as well as beans and legumes, whole grains, oranges and fortified foods (5). However, it’s important to note that daily supplementation with folic acid is also required prior to and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
During our 30’s both men and women tend to be less active than they were in there 20’s. Metabolism also slows by 1-2% per decade. The body tends to produce more fat in comparison to muscle mass, therefore portion size and calorie intake may need to be adjusted in relation to activity levels.
Mid to late 40’s is when menopause tends to start. The fall in oestrogen levels can cause a variety of symptoms that last for on average around 4 years. Some symptoms include hot flashes night sweats and mood swings. Research suggests that minimising common trigger foods may help to reduce the occurrence of symptoms. Trigger foods can include caffeine, alcohol and foods that are sugary or spicy. A food and symptom diary can also be a great way to see which foods worsen or trigger symptoms.
There is also some research to suggest that foods rich in phytoestrogens may have modest benefits for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and even heart disease risk. Phytoestrogens are another word for naturally occurring plant compounds that can mimic the effects of oestrogen within the body, meaning that they may have hormone-balancing effects. Rich sources of phytoestrogens include ground flaxseeds, sesame seeds (tahini), soy products, as well as beans and pulses such as chickpeas.
For both men and women, consumption of a diverse range of plant-based foods is a must. These foods contain plant chemical with antioxidants properties, which fend off harmful free radicals, which come from sources such as UV rays, smoke and pollution. These free radicals are thought to contribute to the ageing process and much chronic disease. Ensuring that you are including regular rainbow coloured fruit and vegetables within the diet will ensure that you are receiving an array of antioxidants daily.
After the menopause, lower oestrogen levels may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Flax and sesame seeds are rich in plant chemicals called lignans, which are phytoestrogens, and are currently under research for benefits on cardiovascular health. Goodlife’s Falafel Buddha Bowl provides a great source of these phytoestrogens from the chickpea falafel and the sesame tahini dressing.
Furthermore, getting enough calcium and vitamin D within the diet is critical at this stage to support bone health and help to prevent osteoporosis. Whilst vitamin D can be obtained from egg yolks and oily fish such as salmon, during the months of October to April supplementation with 400IU vitamin D daily should be considered. Calcium intake should also be considered, and whilst dairy products are a source, so are plant-based foods such as dark green leafy veg, tofu, nuts, dried figs and chia seeds.
For both men and women, muscle mass declines at the age of 50 and metabolism slows. Therefore, portion sizes need to be adjusted accordingly. It’s important to carry out resistance training twice weekly as well as consume protein at each meal and snack to help reduce the loss of muscle mass. Great protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, tofu, beans, pulses, nuts and seeds. In fact, just one portion of Goodlife Falafel provides 7.5g protein!
Checking vitamin B12 levels is something to consider. Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient required for the formation of healthy red blood cells, nervous system, energy and cardiovascular health. As we age, the ability to absorb optimal amounts of vitamin B12 from the food we eat can decline.
As many as 10% of free-living people and 37% of people in care homes who are aged 65 and over suffer from low vitamin D status. Low vitamin D levels are associated with an increased risk of falls and fractures. The current government guidelines recommend that everyone over the age of 65 are to take 10mcg vitamin D per day all year round. Calcium, vitamin K, adequate-protein intake, and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables are other crucial components to delay bone ageing.
Furthermore, low vitamin B12 status affects as many as 5-10% of people in their 60’s whilst low folate status affects 16% of older people living in care homes. Low levels of B vitamins are associated with an increased risk of stroke and dementia therefore it is important that steps are taken to obtain sufficient levels of these vitamins.
Vitamin B12 can be obtained from meat, fish, dairy products and fortified milks, and spread. Folate can be obtained from green veggies such as spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli as well as beans and legumes, whole grains, oranges and fortified foods.
Notes to Editors
All comments to be accredited to nutritionist Lily Soutter, whose teamed up with Goodlife to celebrate the launch of their first Home Cooking & Eating Habits report.
- Packed with nutritious veggies and bursting with flavour, Goodlife is your go-to freezer must-have. With all dishes ready in under 30 minutes, they help free up your time in the kitchen, leaving more time to live your best life with the Goodlife.
- Starting from £1.80 – £2.49 per pack, find the range at leading retailers nationwide. Shop online and instore across Ocado, Waitrose, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s. For more mouth-watering recipes or for information on the full Goodlife range, visit www.goodlife.co.uk.
For further information about this press release and hi-res images, please contact: Laura Quick: firstname.lastname@example.org | 07807809119
All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2121 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 8th – 9th February 2021. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).