An apple a day, keeps the doctor away...

You'll never be able to turn back the clock, but as you get older you can play to your strengths when it comes to your health and fitness. As we age, our nutritional needs change and we'll need to pack in different vitamins and minerals.

And so, as part of our Friday Fun, why not check out Punter Southall Aspire's rundown of how your body's needs change in your 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond!

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You're working in your first adult job, meeting new people and finding your feet in the world. Life is a whirlwind, so healthy eating is probably the least of your worries. But if you look after yourself now, your body will thank you in the years to come.

How to stay healthy: Protein is a building block for developing muscles and it'll keep you fuller for longer in the day, so pack in the eggs, white meat and broccoli. Omega-3 fats are key for brain function, so pack in the salmon and tuna.

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If you hadn't already noticed, it's when we hit our mid-30s the natural ageing process becomes more noticeable. Grey hairs and fine lines start to appear and our bone density gradually decreases. 

How to stay healthy: Antioxidants are great for keeping the subtle signs of age at bay. Berries, colourful vegetables, green leaves and tropical fruit are some of the most antioxidant-rich foods you'll get, so eat tonnes of these if you want to avoid fine lines and grey hairs for as long as possible. Folic acid isn't just for pregnant women. It's great for helping your body produce and maintain cells, fight off the DNA mutations that can lead to some cancers and it also wards off anaemia. It's a type of B Vitamin that you find in oranges, beetroot and spinach. 

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It's in our 40s that we really start to feel the impact of the decisions we've made in our 20s and 30s. It's during this decade that health issues make their presence felt and we have to start eating smart.

How to stay healthy: Calcium is important as our bone density has significantly dropped. So don't shy away from milk, yoghurt and cheese as an occasional treat. Think more about your iron intake. If you're a vegetarian or a vegan, it's really important to supplement this, so make sure you're eating lots of green leafed vegetables (chard and spinach are great ones) or even taking a supplement.

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We should be mindful of what we're putting in our bodies at any age, but it's in your 50s that you really need to think about your diet. Now is the time to monitor your fat intake and slash the salt.

How to stay healthy: Fibre is a great all-rounder. It'll slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed in your bloodstream, make your intestines move faster, acts like a scrubbing brush for your colon and it keeps you regular. Beans, oats, lentils and whole grains provide a rich source. Zinc is vital for keeping our bodies running properly. It regulates our enzymes and hormones and takes care of our immune system. Leafy green vegetables are full of zinc, helping to fight fatigue and keeping our bones healthy. B-Vitamins are important for anyone over the age of 50. They'll assist your body in making energy from the food you eat and help your body form red blood cells.

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As we enter our 60s, our bodies go through physiological and psychological changes that will impact our nutritional requirements. Vitamins become vital, especially if you're on any long-term prescription drug. Our bodies become less efficient at absorbing Vitamin D and as our stomach acid levels drop, it's harder for us to absorb Vitamin B.

How to stay healthy: As the risk of a stroke and heart attack rises, Vitamin D, B12 and fibre should be high priorities in your diet.

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Most adults eat less as they get older, as we slow down our bodies require less fuel on a daily basis. However, it's still important to be eating well and getting the nutrients we need. Keep an eye on your cholesterol, avoid saturated fats and opt for heart-healthy fats such as olive oil. Our Vitamin D and calcium absorption have dramatically decreased with age, so you may want to begin supplementing these.

How to stay healthy: The best way to be sure what your body needs is to speak to your doctor, who'll be able to to recommend a nutritional and healthy eating plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

Posted by John Buttress

Topics: Friday Fun

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