Healthy Dining Tips For Women In Their 60s and 70s

Older Caucasian women smiling

Bring on the berries. They’re the only fruit that benefit brain health, according to researchers who study the MIND diet (Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), a plan that focuses on foods that play a role in preventing age-related cognitive decline. Women ages 70 and older who ate blueberries once per week or strawberries twice per week or more had a brain age as much as 2½ years younger than those who ate the berries less than once per month, according to a Harvard study that followed more than 16,000 women over almost 20 years. The antioxidants in berries can help activate the brain’s “housekeeper” mechanism, which helps clean out parts of cells that have become damaged.

Don’t wait to hydrate. Our thirst mechanism weakens as we get older. Though everyone’s needs are a little different, the Institute of Medicine estimates that women need around 9 cups of fluids per day—though not all of it needs to be plain water. Soup, coffee, and tea count, and fruit and vegetables also contribute to your fluid intake. You can determine whether you’re drinking enough based on the color of your urine—light yellow or straw-hued is the goal. “Fill a pitcher in the morning with the amount needed per day,” says Keating. Pour glasses of H20 throughout the day, with the goal of having it emptied by bedtime.

Bump up the protein. Despite what seems like a constant push for us to get more protein in our diets, most Americans don’t have trouble taking in enough of this muscle-building, satiety-boosting nutrient. Age, however, makes us less efficient at using protein, and findings support the idea that older adults get slightly more than the current recommendation to prevent age-related muscle loss known as sarcopenia, which can increase the risk of disability. After age 60, aim for at least 0.6 gram per pound daily (younger adults need 0.4 gram per pound each day).

Get (even more) serious about food safety. Protecting yourself from foodborne disease is always important. But as we grow older, our bodies become less equipped to fight off pathogens and recover from potential illness. So it’s crucial that older women—along with the very young and pregnant—are extra careful to minimize exposure to the pathogens that can cause foodborne illness.