The power of healthy eating isn’t up for debate. A good quality diet has been linked to living a longer life, the maintenance of good health and the ability to stay active. And while it’s important throughout your life, it becomes even more significant as you get older.
The challenge is that poor dietary habits are hard to break. Only 10% of adults aged 65 and over eat the recommended five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day. Combined with changing nutrient requirements, and the decreased food intake that often accompanies ageing, this means key vitamins and minerals are often missing from the diets of older Australians.
Eggs are an easy way to help boost your intake.
It’s important for older Australians to pay increased attention to the amount of nutrients in food. Increased nutrient requirements and waning appetites often lead to deficiencies in fibre, calcium, vitamins A, E, C, B6, B12, folate, iron, magnesium and zinc. Older people who primarily stay indoors are also at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure.
Eggs are a superfood, packed with 11 different vitamins and minerals. This makes them a convenient way to supplement nutrient intake. They’re also one of the few foods containing vitamin D, helping to boost your intake without having to sit out in the sun.
Body composition also changes with age as muscle mass starts to decrease. This makes older people more susceptible to falls, and in turn, bone fractures. To address this, the recommended intake for protein increases by about 25% as adults reach 70 years of age. It makes sense to enjoy protein-rich foods like eggs as part of a balanced diet.
As the Australian population ages, more than 800,000 people are expected to be blind or vision impaired by 2020. The most common culprits include glaucoma, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
Research shows that dietary and lifestyle factors – including antioxidant consumption, the type of fats you eat, glycemic index and the intake of key vitamins and minerals – play a role in the development and progression of many age-related eye disorders.
- Antioxidants: Lutein and zeaxanthin are two of the primary antioxidants found in the macular region of the retina. They’re thought to play a protective role in the prevention of eye disease. Eggs contain both of these antioxidants, with a serve of two eggs containing about 530 micrograms. It’s been proven that lutein and zeaxanthin is better absorbed by the body from eggs than from plant sources such as spinach and corn.
- Omega-3: Omega-3 fatty acids, including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are a major part of the retina. It’s thought having an adequate intake of DHA may protect the eye from retina damage. Eggs are one of the few foods to include the same types of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish sources including DHA.
Some people avoid eggs because of cholesterol concerns. This is a mistake. Research shows egg consumption has little association with plasma cholesterol levels or risk of heart disease. In fact, eggs are packed full of nutrients, making them an unbeatable choice for every day. They’re also economical and easily prepared. What’s not to love?