The right way to eat
gkrphoto/Shutterstock The basics of a healthy diet don’t change much from the day you’re born—but you change. And while nutrient-rich breast milk or formula gives a baby everything it needs to grow and thrive, once we’ve tackled solid food, most of us don’t think too much about what specific nutrients will keep our bodies at peak health throughout the rest of our lives. Eating healthy starts with lean protein, fresh produce, and healthy fats. But research shows that other specific nutrients, vitamins, and minerals can gain importance depending on what decade you’re entering, and men and women have different nutritional needs. We tapped the experts and rounded up the latest research to find the ideal diet for every age.
In your 20s: Iron
Kiryl Padabed/Shutterstock “Eating a complete and balanced diet is important in your 20s and will help you form long-lasting, healthy habits,” says registered dietitian Abby Sauer, MPH, a nutritionist with Ohio-based healthcare company Abbott. “But there are a few nutrients that we often miss the mark on during this time in our lives.” Iron plays a critical role in helping your red blood cells transport oxygen to all of the tissues in your body, and both men and women often fall short of the recommended guidelines. Women in particular need to consume more iron to make up for what’s lost each month during menstruation. Additionally, many women are entering their childbearing years in this decade, and pregnancy can increase the amount of blood in your body—and your corresponding need for iron—by about 50 percent. Try these foods that are surprisingly high in iron.
Get more: Meat, legumes, nuts, white beans, dark, leafy greens, and tofu.