Eating For Your Age, Gender, & Condition: Crafting the Nutrition Plan That Fits Your Needs

 ImpactsHowHHow  Impacts Die Impacts How As we age, our bodies, lifestyles, habits, and health change with us. With those changes, it’s no surprise that we may need to make some nutritional adjustments as well. The American Academy of Dietetics recommends adults adjust their eating habits to address their needs. But how do you know what to eat during the different stages of your life? The answer lies in your age, gender, and condition.

The essentials for healthy eating do not actually change. No matter your circumstances, the core principles of a healthy diet remain the same. Everyone should look to eat lean proteins, control their portion sizes during meals, avoid snacking, and make sure all the food groups are represented in their meals (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.). While these principles are unchanged, an individual’s nutrient needs may be different due to certain factors.

How Age Impacts Diet

Age can certainly play a role in the development of a nutritional plan. Age can affect our body’s nutrition in a number of ways. The body’s metabolism slows over time in response to physical activity changes and a loss of muscle mass. Changing your nutrient intake could prevent weight gain. Changes in mental acuity may also affect your ability to prepare meals.

How Gender Impacts Diet

Gender may have an impact on our diet as well. Because men often have more muscle mass, they often require more calories than women. Additionally, women menstruating might need more iron in their diet than a man. Iron deficiency can result in a whole host of problems, including fatigue and difficulty breathing. Because women are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis, they require a greater amount of calcium and vitamin D than a man.

How Physical Condition Impacts Diet

Our body’s physical condition also affects our nutrition. Many chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, hypertension, and celiac disease can drastically change your dietary requirements. Additionally, acute conditions can lead to dietary adjustment. A recent bout of the flu or an overuse injury could mean decreased access to the grocery store or an inability to make a home-cooked meal. Medication can also impact nutritional decisions. Some medication makes us nauseous while others may require that we eat certain foods or drinks in order to use them properly.

Additionally, we must consider the body’s physical limitations. Someone with a knee injury or a person who has trouble standing might not be able to cook a meal at the stove or in the kitchen the same way someone with no ailments could. Even still, they require convenient, healthy food options. There are other ways physical constraints can impact our eating habits. Those who have trouble chewing or have digestion issues may require additional adjustments to their diet.

Everyone is different, with different nutritional needs to match their unique condition. A star athlete who exercises for extended periods every day is not going to require the same nutrients as a stay-at-home mom or an elderly man with a chronic condition. Keeping these differences in mind can be beneficial for the development of a healthy diet.

Nutrition Services in Newport News & Williamsburg VA

It’s not always easy to acknowledge all the different constraints that impact our nutrition, which is why partnering with a trained dietitian is helpful for the development of a nutrition plan that fits your specific needs. A thorough nutritional assessment can expose nutrient deficits before they pose a risk to your health. Schedule an appointment with one of our trained dieticians at TPMG Nutrition Services who can help get you started.

Gale Pearson

About Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES

Gale Pearson, MS, RDN, CDCES is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator with over 25 years of experience working with patients on dietary and nutrition wellness planning. Gale received her undergraduate degree from Hampton University and her Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Howard University.

With extensive experience in nutrition counseling, Gale works with her patients to develop strategies to improve their eating habits and lifestyles, in turn helping them to manage their weight and medical conditions. She credits witnessing her patients’ symptoms and overall health improvement as a result of the lifestyle changes as one of the most gratifying and rewarding aspects of her career.

At TPMG Nutrition Services in Newport News and Williamsburg, Gale provides one-on-one consultations, nutrition and weight management counseling, and diabetes education.

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