As you enjoy adulthood, you need to trust your gut. Really. There’s a difference between good gut feelings and painful ones, such as heartburn, indigestion, and constipation. As you get older, your body’s need for certain nutrients goes up…but, perhaps you’ve noticed, your tolerance for certain foods goes down.
The keys to adult eating (and this can be anywhere from 30-80) are two words: smaller and slower. But before we can truly understand why we need to eat differently, it helps to know a little bit more about why your gut behaves differently as we age. We just can’t pack it away like our college days.
- The stomach shrinks. As we age, there is a decrease in what is called “gastrointestinal reserve.” In other words, our stomach muscle is less stretchable (can’t hold as much food) and the intestines lose strength (food moves more slowly).
- Acid refluxes. The muscular valve that keeps the food in your stomach and prevents it from being regurgitated back into the esophagus becomes weaker. When we eat too much too fast, we get that “burning” sensation and irritate that sensitive lining of the esophagus. This happens a lot to women after pregnancy.
- Digestion slows. As we hit each decade, our intestinal function, saliva production, and stomach emptying all slow down.
- Nutrient absorption slows. The normal folds of the intestine get flatter and decreases the absorption surface, which may cause the intestines to be less able to absorb nutrients.
- Garbage disposal weakens. Once your large intestine disposes of waste, any remains toxins from the digestive process head to the backup disposal, your liver. Your liver has a lot of reserve, but as you age its reserve decreases. Too much garbage (junky or excess food) clogs your disposal system.
- Metabolism slows. After 40, we become calorie storers instead of calorie burners. Less fuel burned means less food needed.
What are we to do? Have smaller, healthier meals. The key to digestive bliss is small, frequent mini-meals, which will keep your body satisfied—neither hungry nor uncomfortably full.
Are you ready to start eating healthier food and learning how to eat and exercise as we get older? Join our upcoming wellness retreats at New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont. We are open for the season until September 30th this year. You will get three, freshly prepared, healthy meals a day while at New Life, all included with your nightly rate.
We hope to see you at New Life where you will be able to work on your health and wellness in a relaxed, healthy environment.