how to improve energy levels naturally for seniors. superfoods for better energy levels.

How to maintain good energy levels at any age.

The relationship between ageing and energy, why does it matter?

Energy metabolism is a dynamic physiological process − amazingly smart when it comes to choosing the macronutrients it prefers to use as fuel (carbohydrates as the first option, fats as the second option and protein as the third option) depending on what is available. Apart from these macronutrients, our body also needs other micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, copper, iodine, phosphorus, B vitamins, vitamin C etc. to fight fatigue and tiredness, as well as to keep a healthy immune system, support a healthy mind, and maintain skin, bone and cardiovascular health.

When it comes to using energy, the skeletal muscles are known to consume the largest amount of energy in the human body. However, as the skeletal muscle mass decreases progressively with ageing, so does our metabolic rate, which means that our energy needs are no longer as high as of those in their 20s or 30s. While the idea of lowered energy requirements may get you thinking that you can eat less yet maintain vitality, in reality over 50s are likely to experience tiredness and fatigue more often. This can happen due to several changes that happen in the body as we age such as menopause, lowered testosterone levels, reduced absorption of nutrients and digestive issues.

Lower energy levels may stay in the way of your daily tasks and fitness goals which contribute to the maintenance of physical and mental health. Ignoring exercise long term can lead to reduced mobility and is associated with several health problems that are common amongst those aged over 50 such as Type II Diabetes, weight gain, decreased immunity cardiovascular diseases and faster progression of muscle loss.

That is why individuals aged over 50 should prioritise nutrient-dense foods. Although it may often seem more convenient to choose energy-rich foods that lack micronutrients, doing this consistently can lead to unhealthy cholesterol levels, weight gain and insulin resistance. A diet based on nutrient-dense plant foods, on the other hand, is generally lower in calories and high in nutrients such as fibre, complex carbohydrates, lean protein, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that are going to support your hormones, digestive health, immunity and energy-yielding metabolism.


Food and energy

Nutrient-dense foods are highly beneficial for over 50s looking to maintain good energy levels and help reduce fat accumulation and related health problems. It is recommended that you build your diet around complex carbohydrates with a low to medium glycaemic index (GI), which are ideal for a sustained release of energy throughout the day. Porridge oats, nuts and seeds, lentils and wholegrain pasta have a low GI. Rice, sourdough bread, bananas, raisins have a medium GI.

Additionally, you can explore adaptogen plants such as Panax ginseng, Maca powder and Ashwagandha which have been used for increased energy, to fight fatigue and to increase physical endurance for centuries.

Superfoods such as Camu Camu, baobab and golden berries are some incredible plant-based sources of Vitamin C, great to add to smoothies and bakes to fight fatigue and help support a healthy energy-yielding metabolism. Vitamin C has multiple other health benefits too – it supports collagen formation, psychological function, and immunity, and protects the body against oxidative stress. What’s more, Vitamin C increases the absorption of iron, a mineral that’s essential for your body to stay energised.

Vitamin B6, found in Pistachios, beans and spices like ginger and turmeric is a key energy-supporting micronutrient as it helps maintain normal hormonal balance, which is crucial for alleviating the energy problems that occur due to hormonal changes in those aged over 50.

Similarly, the phytonutrients found in apoptogenic plants are known to support hormonal balance, which has a contribution to our body’s ability to prevent or alleviate energy-related issues.


The bottom line

A nutrient-dense diet, high in complex carbohydrates, phytonutrients, fibre, lean protein, and essential micronutrients including iron, magnesium, B vitamins (B2, B3, B5, B6 & B12) and vitamin C is fantastic for fighting fatigue and maintaining energy levels for those over 50.