Neglecting proper nutrition can have serious side effects, and we’re not just talking about wrinkles and cellulite. Poor nutrition can negatively impact your physical and mental health, whether you’re over the age of 50 or 20 years old, so it’s important to be aware of how nutrition impacts your well-being. Here are just a few ways poor nutrition can hurt you mentally and physically as you age.
According to research in Osteoporosis International, bone loss accelerates when calcium intake is inadequate, when vitamin D levels are low, and when exercise is minimal. A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that those with low bone mass were more likely to experience a decline in their physical functioning after two years of follow-up. This may be because weight-bearing exercises stimulate bone growth. However, experts say that many adults aren’t getting enough calcium or vitamin D for optimal bone health. If you’re concerned about osteoporosis impacting your health, talk to your doctor and they may offer dietary or lifestyle suggestions to help you preserve strong bones into old age.
Poor nutrition, especially for family members in their golden years, is frequently linked to diabetes. And while some people might think that diabetes occurs because of lack of exercise or poor diet, that’s not entirely true. The truth is that diabetes can occur due to a problem with insulin production and other factors like poor diet, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. By making sure you’re practicing good nutrition habits every day—including following a nutritious diabetic diet—you can ensure better health for yourself later in life.
A diet heavy in empty calories from simple carbohydrates and low in fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates can contribute to depression. In particular, studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are an essential component of proper brain functioning. When they lack in the diet, you may be more vulnerable to conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and dementia. These conditions occur because neurons (nerve cells) rely on omega-3 fatty acids to communicate with one another; without those fatty acids, neurons cannot transmit messages properly.
Poor nutrition can lead to tooth decay. Without enough Vitamin C in your diet, you may be prone to tooth decay. Vitamin C plays a crucial role in forming saliva, which washes away bacteria that would otherwise cause cavities. If you are not getting enough vitamin C, you should speak with your doctor about taking an oral supplement or eating more foods rich in vitamin C. Similarly, if you are not getting enough iron or calcium, it is possible that too much plaque will accumulate on your teeth and can cause cavities.
A new study indicates that a poor diet can profoundly impact anyone’s overall health, including heart health. Heart disease is often linked to high cholesterol and high blood pressure, but new research suggests that a poor diet may affect those who don’t yet show signs of these diseases. People who ate diets rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables lowered their risk of stroke by more than 40 percent. Not only did they reduce their risk of suffering from strokes, but they also had fewer fatal heart attacks during their lifetime.