Healthy aging: Nourishing your golden years

Everyone wants to live longer. But few remember to specify that we want to live longer and healthier lives.  


As we gracefully journey into our golden years, it's essential to embrace a lifestyle that supports healthy ageing. In my opinion, ageing is a natural process and honestly an honour, but the choices we make regarding our diet and lifestyle can significantly impact our quality of life.

Let’s have a look at the key nutrition and lifestyle ingredients to help us age whilst feeling fabulous.

Eat the rainbow

One of the simplest ways to support healthy ageing is to have a colourful plate of food with each meal. Colourful fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that combat oxidative stress and inflammation, two key culprits of ageing. Aim to include a rainbow of colours in every meal, to provide your body with the nutrients it craves.

For example, red and orange produce like tomatoes and carrots are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which promote skin health and immune function. And we certainly want to support our immunity during these colder months… Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are high in antioxidants and vitamin K, vital for bone health which you may want to focus on, especially after the menopause.

Purple and blue foods such as blueberries and eggplants contain anthocyanins, which have been linked to improved cognitive function. So, if you think your memory and focus may need a little extra love, how about starting to add blueberries to your morning porridge, or yoghurt, or just a small bowl as a snack each day, with a little handful of walnuts, which are also fabulous for brain function?

Choose lean proteins

As we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes increasingly important. Lean sources of protein, such as poultry, fish, legumes, and tofu, are your best friends here, as protein helps repair and build muscle, supports bone health, and keeps you feeling full and satisfied. What’s not to like?

Lean proteins are not only crucial for muscle health but also for reducing the risk of age-related diseases. Poultry, like skinless chicken and turkey, is a fantastic source of lean protein, and it's versatile for various dishes. How does a simple traybake with chicken, Mediterranean herbs or spices, and roasted veggies sound? Let’s also start to incorporate fish two to three times a week, particularly fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, providing essential omega-3 fatty acids, with their anti-inflammatory properties and heart health support.

If you are following a plant-based diet, fear not! You can choose legumes like lentils, chickpeas, and tofu to get protein, fibre, and more essential nutrients.

Prioritise healthy fats

Fats often get a bad rep, but healthy fats are crucial for cognitive health and overall well-being, including hormonal health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds, are fabulous in promoting healthy ageing! These healthy fats are associated with improved cognitive function, reducing the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. They also help manage inflammation, which plays a significant role in the ageing process.

For added benefits, consider including avocados and olive oil, which provide monounsaturated fats, known to support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Avocado toast in the morning with a dash of lemon, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and a poached egg on top would be an ideal brain-friendly breakfast to try (and my favourite kind of brunch).

Hydration matters

How much water do you drink each day? Hydration is vital for healthy ageing.

Hydration is often overlooked but is critical for overall health, especially as we age. Water is essential for many bodily functions, including digestion, temperature regulation, and the transportation of nutrients.

As the weather gets colder, think about herbal teas like chamomile, peppermint, and ginger, which not only provide hydration but also offer additional health benefits such as promoting relaxation and supporting digestion. Homemade infused water with slices of cucumber, citrus, or fresh herbs can be an additional hydrating option, which some people may find more enjoyable than plain water.

Mindful eating

Slow down, savour your meals and chew properly.

Many people almost inhale their food, whilst mindlessly scrolling on social media or watching TV. Mindful eating encourages a more profound connection with your meals. It involves savouring each bite, appreciating the flavours and textures, and being aware of how your body responds to what you're eating. It can help prevent overeating, reduce digestive discomfort, and promote a healthier relationship with food. Are these benefits enough to convince you to give it a try?

To practice mindful eating, try to eat without distractions, like watching TV, scrolling on social media or working, and take your time to chew your food thoroughly.

Stay active

Physical activity is a cornerstone of healthy ageing.

Staying active as you age is absolutely crucial for maintaining both physical and mental well-being. Engaging in regular exercise improves balance, reducing the risk of falls and fractures. It also helps with weight management, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Choose activities like walking, swimming, or yoga which are gentle on the joints while providing excellent cardiovascular benefits. Remember that it's never too late to start; even light exercise has significant health benefits!

Social connection

Staying socially engaged is just as important as diet and exercise.

Social connections are a vital component of healthy ageing. Maintaining close relationships and social interactions can reduce the risk of depression, cognitive decline, and even extend lifespan as we get older.

Engaging with friends and family can provide emotional support, reduce stress, and promote a sense of belonging. Consider joining clubs, volunteering, or participating in community events to foster social connections.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, have a look at The Joy Club, a wonderful online community for retired and semi-retired individuals, offering a huge range of activities from yoga, to painting, book clubs and so much more! I also host monthly nutrition talks for their fabulous members. This online community has truly enabled so many people to create new fantastic friends and connections.

Quality sleep

Sleep is when your body repairs and rejuvenates. In my opinion, it’s the number one parameter of health. When you have a poor night’s sleep, it can affect so many mental and physical functions the following day: low mood, low energy, cravings, poor focus…

Good quality sleep is essential for cognitive function, immune health, and overall well-being. Poor sleep can contribute to various age-related issues, including memory problems and increased susceptibility to illnesses.

If you need to improve your sleep, start by establishing a consistent sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine that works for you, and ensure your sleeping environment is comfortable and dark. To further enhance your sleep quality, reducing caffeine, dimming your lights and stepping away from electronics before bedtime are all useful options you could try.

Remember, it's never too late to start incorporating these tips into your daily routine!

Eating the rainbow, choosing healthy fats, staying active, and nurturing your social connections, can all support you in thriving through your golden years. Start with one change at a time, so as to not get overwhelmed, and slowly add to it every couple of weeks. This should help you to let your body and mind adjust to these new habits and routines and stick to them long-term. You got this.


  • Yeung SSY, Kwan M, Woo J. Healthy Diet for Healthy Aging. Nutrients. 2021 Nov 29;13(12):4310. doi: 10.3390/nu13124310. PMID: 34959862; PMCID: PMC8707325.
  • Ravyts SG, Dzierzewski JM. Sleep and Healthy Aging: A Systematic Review and Path Forward. Clin Gerontol. 2022 Apr 21:1-13. doi: 10.1080/07317115.2022.2064789. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35445642; PMCID: PMC9585152.
  • Eckstrom E, Neukam S, Kalin L, Wright J. Physical Activity and Healthy Aging. Clin Geriatr Med. 2020 Nov;36(4):671-683. doi: 10.1016/j.cger.2020.06.009. Epub 2020 Aug 19. PMID: 33010902.
  • JCI Insight. 2019;4(17):e130949.
  • Van Orden KA, Bower E, Lutz J, Silva C, Gallegos AM, Podgorski CA, Santos EJ, Conwell Y. Strategies to Promote Social Connections Among Older Adults During "Social Distancing" Restrictions. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2021 Aug;29(8):816-827. doi: 10.1016/j.jagp.2020.05.004. Epub 2020 May 18. PMID: 32425473; PMCID: PMC7233208.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Nutritionist Resource are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
London, W13
Written by Valentina Cartago
London, W13

Valentina is a BANT Registered Practitioner, and a licensed practitioner for the Cytoplan Brain Health Programme. Her passion is educating the public on decreasing the risk for cognitive decline.
After years working with Functional Doctors, she now focuses on her own practice The Italian Nutritionist for 1-1 consultations and health talks.

Show comments

Find a nutritionist dealing with Adults and elderly adults

All nutrition professionals are verified

All nutrition professionals are verified