Tag Archives: age

Optimal nutrition for the over 60’s

The term ‘senior citizen’ no longer evokes images of blue rinses, zimmer frames and beige polyester clothing. Baby boomers are seemingly more healthy and youthful than ever, enjoying active and energised retirements. Just think of some of our most fabulous, glamorous ‘seniors’ like Helen Mirren,and Tom Jones who like a fine Bordeaux, seem to get better with age.
Helen Mirren

By 2050, for the first time ever, the world population will have more people over age 65 than children age 5 and younger. Baby boomers (those born post 1946) are therefore are more important and significant generation than ever before and will impact our socio economic climate for years to come.

Despite their increasingly youthful appearances however, researchers claim baby boomers are at risk of more disease than previous generations, triggered by their increasingly sedentary lifestyles and poor nutrition. Despite apparent improvements in medicine, healthcare and standard of living, today’s 60 years olds are less healthy than their immediate predecessors. Age related illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s and cancers are more prevalent than ever.

However such illnesses do not have to be an inevitable part of growing old. With good nutrition and lifestyle there is no reason why you cannot maintain great health into the winter of your life.

During our lifetimes our nutritional requirements do change quite significantly. It is therefore important to make sure that your diet is tailored specifically for your advanced years.

It is a popular belief that over 60’s require less calories, however they actually need more of certain nutrients than younger adults. As we age, our body becomes less efficient at producing and absorbing certain vitamins and minerals.

In theory we should get all vital nutrients from our food, but this can be a challenge for even the healthiest among us. Changes in farming techniques mean that foods are simply not as nutrient dense as they once were.
A good quality supplement is therefore recommended at all ages, but especially during older age. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for so avoid cheaper vitamins from the supermarket that are full of fillers, and invest in food state vitamins from brands such as Cytoplan. A specially formulated multivitamin for over 50’s will ensure you get the complete spectrum of vitamins and minerals.


Alzheimer’s is a concern for many, and by 2025 there will be 1 million people in the UK living with the disease.

The Mind diet advocates 10 foods which they claim reduces the risk of alzheimers by 35%. This includes green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries and whole grains. It is advised that red meat, cheese, margarine, pastries and sweets are avoided.


Osteoporosis (meaning porous bones), is a common concern for over 60s. This degenerative disease occurs as bone density decreases, increasing risk of fracture. Post-menopausal women are particularly prone to the disease due to increased oestrogen production. Your doctor will no doubt recommend a diet high in dairy to prevent osteoporosis. However dairy is not the best source of calcium. It is highly acidic, and mucus forming, and most humans cannot digest the lactose it contains properly, which leads to conditions such as asthma and eczema. The body needs magnesium in order to absorb calcium so supplementing with calcium alone is not enough.
It is therefore a good idea to eat a diet rich is calcium and magnesium rich foods such as cruciferous vegetables like kale and broccoli. Sardines are also calcium rich and have the added bonus of containing B12 that is a key nutrient for brain and nervous system health.
Exercise and muscle strengthening also helps prevent the osteoporosis. For best results, aim for 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.

Vitamin depletion

Vitamin D depletes with age and there are only a handful of foods that contain it. Fish such as tuna, mackerel, salmon and sardines are all good sources of the vitamin. For vegetarians, vitamin D sprays are a simple way to supplement your diet.

Vitamin B12 absorption

Aging decreases the body’s ability to absorb B-12 in the small intestine, which may lead to a deficiency. The Institute of Medicine advises that over 50’s supplement synthetically with a good quality supplement.

While it’s true that our body’s change as we age, illness and disease is not inevitable. Eat a nutrient dense diet, made up of whole natural foods and keep sugar, caffeine, dairy and gluten to a minimum.


Smoothies and juices are a fantastic way to supplement your diet.

These easy recipes are packed full of essential vitamins, minerals and enzymes.

Supergreen Juice- Bursting with essential minerals such as magnesium which maintains normal muscle and nerve function.

2 medium apples
3 celery stalks
½ cucumber
½ thumb of ginger
½ lemon
½ lime
2 cups spinach or kale

Wash and juice all contents, removing pith of lemon and lime before juicing

Simple Superfood Smoothie

Rich in fibre, vitamin C, K, vitamin E, B6 and potassium, as well as packed with plant based protein, this smoothie is a great way to start the day.

½ avocado
1 pear
1 tspn chia seeds
1 tspn hemp seeds
1 glass of coconut or almond mylk

Blend all ingredients

For more information, contact naturopath nutritionist Amy Huggins
Health & Happiness


The man, the legend and his creation

“Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.”

Do you buy that? Smart words you might think?  These are the words of Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates method. Except back in  the 1900’s when he devised this fantastic system of movements, it was called “Contrology” (only later becoming Pilates after his death)

So let me just get this right… Pilates was created by a man?
How many men do you know these days who do Pilates or even less, how many teach it? Yet the system was originally created by a man and taught to hundreds of men. And not just “a” man, Joe was a man’s man!  A cigar smoking, beer loving, womanizing, man!

Joseph Pilates (1883-1967) always claimed that he was far ahead of his time with his system of exercises and he was right. In the early 1920’s he started his first studio in New York City, but today Pilates is known internationally as a key staple exercise and movement programme. Not a fad that came and went, not a wishy washy airy fairy exercise, not something that didn’t make you break a sweat, but a system of carefully controlled (hence the name Contrology) flowing movements designed to return you to life. It’s no wonder then that his (second) book in 1945 was named just this “Return to Life through Contrology”  (his first book was “Your Health”)
These days the Pilates method is taught and practiced by millions of smart cookies all over the world, who’ve cottoned on to the fact that this Pilates thing will make your back feel strong, your whole body feel toned, your vitality and energy increase, make you stand taller, walk and move easier….. basically it will make you feel fan dabby tastic!

Joe based his concepts for Pilates on having a balanced mind, body and spirit and took some of his inspiration from the early Greeks. He studied scientifically and experimentally into what upset the balance of these things.  Sleep, posture, stress, technology all played a part in his research.  You might not even know that much of Pilates work was outside of the actual exercise system we now know and love but that he also had his views on how we should sit on a chair, sleep in our bed, and built furniture to help us get this balance.
He believed in correct breathing being the basis of it all, as it is in life. Adding in body movement and mechanics, spinal flexibility and physical education.

Quite simply Pilates is a method of exercise designed to bring about balance in your body through strength and flexibility. If the body is restored to balance, it can move effortlessly without strain.  Most of the time, we are completely unaware of these stresses and strains being added to the body, causing us to be out of balance. Until it’s too late and the injury sets in to the point of letting us know about it. An ache or niggle here, later leading perhaps to more pains and a trip to the osteopath or doc.

Sure, doing Pilates will, as Joe wanted, return you to life and restore your imbalances once you have them. But imagine if you will a life where doing Pilates meant you didn’t get the imbalances in the first place?! That’s what’s it’s all about. It’s functional, basic movement. Strength training, flexibility training, body balancing.

You can (and should!) use it to help your sport improve, to get you out of back pain, to prepare your body for motherhood, to deal with the physical demands on a young developing body, or to managing the issues we face as we get older. It’s perfect for everyone; male and female alike.

In Pilates we refer to a “two way stretch” That’s one of the really cool things about it, you are always focusing. As one part of your body strengthens, the other side is stretching. Imagine in a gym, you’d have to use two machines for that. In Pilates, just the one exercise will do both! As your body becomes stronger, it also becomes longer = flexibility and strength! Winner!

We focus on the inner workings of the body, what some refer to as the “powerhouse” or “core.”
The deeper muscles of the body can’t be seen but can still be felt, and it’s these smaller postural muscles that help us with proper alignment whilst we go through our everyday movements. An imbalance in these muscles means we can’t work as efficiently, we are more likely to injure.  Time off work, time off the sports pitch, time off picking up the grandchildren for a cuddle. Do you want that?

But it doesn’t stop there! Pilates is a full body exercise. You use your brain to move your body so it’s great for the grey matter! You simply don’t have head space to think of the shopping when you’re doing Pilates, so a natural stress reliever.  We also use the limbs; our arms and legs, so you’ll be getting them stronger too.

In fact, Pilates as a class may help you in the studio, but just think of the all the benefits it gives your whole life outside the class room! For a full Pilates experience, you should also be using the equipment such as the “Reformer” to really condition the body, but it’s so easy to start with just you and a mat, anywhere, anytime.

And what’s not to like about that?! Just be sure your teacher knows a bit about what they are talking about!

For more information on Pilates, check out www.thepilatespod.co.uk