Nutrients Through the Decades

Use this decade-by-decade guide to eat right in your 20s, 30s and 40s.

  • eat right every age intro slide

    While the core principles of healthy eating remain the same throughout life, several of your macro- and micronutrient needs change as you age. With each decade, risk for specific health conditions increases and diet is often the best defense in preventing these age-related threats.

    To help you look and feel your best, follow our guide to what you should eat in your 20s, 30s and 40s. We’ve identified the crucial nutrients likely to be lacking in your diet, how much is enough and the best sources to put in your shopping cart.

    Written by Julie Upton, MS, RD, CSSD and Katherine Brooking, MS, RD

    julie upton katherine brooking portraitJulie Upton MS, RD, CSSD and Katherine Brooking MS, RD are co-founders of the popular food and nutrition website AppforHealth.com. There they share their passion for healthy eating, delicious recipes, and tips on how to achieve better health through good nutrition. Julie holds a Master of Science Degree in Nutrition Communications from Boston University. Katherine received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition Science from Columbia University.

  • count on calcium slide

    Did you know that adults don’t reach peak bone mass until about age 30? At that point, bones have reached their maximum strength and density. Calcium is an essential nutrient for building healthy bones.* Deficiencies in young people can account for a significant difference in peak bone mass and can increase the risk for hip fracture later in life. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you meet your calcium needs from childhood through your 20s and beyond.

    Calcium Fact Sheet

    How much? Women and men ages 19-50 should aim for 1300 mg/day.

    How to get more? We all know that milk is a great source of calcium, but you may be surprised by all the different foods you can work into your diet to reach your daily recommended amount of calcium. These include kale, soybeans, fortified cereals, yogurt, salmon, to name a few.

    Look for calcium in your favorite NOW Real Food® products like Organic White Chia Seeds and NOW® supplements including Calcium Citrate Veg Capsules.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • pump up with iron slide

    Iron is essential for making hemoglobin, which helps to carry oxygen throughout the body.* It’s also important for normal cell functioning.* While you should feel energized in your 20s, when iron intake is low, you may feel fatigued. This vital nutrient is particularly important for women of childbearing age to meet their iron requirement because of losses due to menstruation.

    Iron Fact Sheet

    How much? Women ages 19-50 should aim for 18 mg/day. You’ll need about 27 mg/day during pregnancy. Men should strive for 8 mg/day.

    How to get more? Iron is found in lean meat, seafood, beans, nuts, seeds and fortified grain products. Look for iron in your favorite NOW Real Food® products including Organic Pumpkin Seeds, Organic White Chia Seeds, Organic Amaranth, Organic Oat Bran and Living Now® Organic Quinoa Penne. Or supplement your diet with NOW® Liquid Iron.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • fantastic folate slide

    Folate and folic acid (the supplement form of folate) play an important role in maintaining overall health.* Getting too little folate can result in a type of anemia that causes weakness and fatigue. Women who don’t get enough folate are at risk of having babies with neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. Deficiencies of this nutrient can also increase the likelihood of having a premature baby. Research indicates that how much you consume years, and maybe even decades, earlier can affect your fertility.* That’s why it’s vital to meet your daily folate needs well before you even consider getting pregnant.

    Folate Fact Sheet

    How much? Healthy adults require 400 mcg DFE**/day (600 mcg if you are pregnant).

    • **1 mcg DFE = 0.6 mcg folic acid from fortified foods or dietary supplements consumed with foods
    • 1 mcg DFE = 1 mcg food folate

    How to get more? Folate is naturally present in many foods and some foods are fortified with the supplement form, folic acid. Look for folate/folic acid in foods including whole grains, fortified cereals, enriched pasta, beans, nuts, peas, leafy greens, orange juice, and oranges. Ensure that you are meeting your folic acid needs with NOW® Folic Acid 800 mcg with Vitamin B-12 Tablets.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • don't miss mag

    Want to strengthen your bones while doing something good for your heart?* Make sure you meet your magnesium needs. This important mineral plays a role in regulating diverse 22blood glucose control, and blood pressure and needs increase in your 30s.*

    Magnesium Fact Sheet

    How much? The recommended intake of magnesium increases for both men and women at age 31 (to 420 mg/day and 320 mg/day, respectively).

    How to get more? Make sure you meet your needs by choosing foods including nuts, spinach, avocado, black beans, soymilk, rice and bananas. You’ll find magnesium in NOW Real Food® Organic Brazil Nuts and NOW® Magnesium 400 mg Capsules.

     

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • fight fat with fiber slide

    Your 30s may be a time when you’re ramping up your career and starting a family. Burning the candle at both ends may leave you without as much time to work out or participate in the sports you enjoyed in your 20s. If you find the pounds piling on at this time of life, you’re not alone. But you can fight back with fiber!

    Fiber is the non-digestible (or partially-digested) parts of plant-based foods so it’s never in any animal-based foods like meat or dairy foods. It’s found in foods like whole grains, fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. Because fiber is not digested or minimally digested by our GI tracts, fiber adds fullness to our diet but without calories, making it great hunger-fighter.* Recent studies are finding that the type of fiber may make a difference and that soluble fiber, in particular, may help you lose belly fat, regulate appetite, maintain healthy blood sugar management, and support cardiovascular health.*

    Fiber Fact Sheet

    How much? Aim for about 28-35 g/day.

    How to get more? You’ll find fiber in beans and lentils, apples, oats, whole grain rice, quinoa, seeds, and many ready-to-eat cereals (check the label). Boost your fiber intake with NOW Real Food® Organic White Chia Seeds, Organic Sprouted Brown Rice, Organic Oat Bran, Organic Amaranth, Organic Quinoa Pasta, Organic Millet, and Ellyndale® Southwestern Barbecue Q Cups™. Supplementing with NOW® Organic Fiber-3 is also a great way to get more fiber in powdered form, so it’s easy to add into smoothies or your favorite beverage, yogurt parfaits and more. It’s a combination of fibers from certified organic Golden Flax Seed Meal, Acacia, and Inulin.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • potassium to support blood pressure slide

    Potassium has wide-ranging roles in the body, most notably it helps maintain normal blood pressure and healthy, flexible blood vessels.* The mineral is also needed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, helps maximize bone health and normal muscle contractions.*

    Your 30s is an important decade to support cardiovascular health and normal glucose metabolism.*

    Potassium Fact Sheet

    How much? Aim for 4,700 mg/day.

    How to get more? Eat a variety of potassium-rich foods including dairy foods, citrus, leafy greens, bananas, avocados, potatoes, dried apricots and prunes. NOW Real Food® Organic Pumpkin Seeds and Ellyndale® Savory Garlic & Mushroom Q Cups™ can help you meet your daily potassium targets.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • oh my omega 3 slide

    As you reach your 40s, you may start feeling a little less limber and you may notice it takes longer to recover after your workouts. Enter omega-3 fats. Studies show that two key omega-3 fats — DHA and EPA — can help maintain optimal mobility and joint health.*

    They’re also heart-smart and can help promote a healthy cardiovascular system.*

    How much? The American Heart Association recommends about 1,000 mg of DHA/EPA daily and 2,000 – 4,000 mg of omega 3s to maintain normal lipid levels.

    How to get more? Fatty fish and algae-based foods are among the best sources of DHA and EPA but ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), another omega-3 fatty acid that is converted in the body to EPA and DHA, is found in plant-based foods like nuts and seeds. NOW Real Food® Organic Flax Seeds, Organic Triple Omega Mix, Organic Walnuts, and Nuts About Berries™ are good additions to up your omega 3s. You can also help meet your omega-3 needs with NOW® Ultra Omega-3 Softgels.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

  • power up with protein slide

    To maintain, or build, strength in your 40s, you’ll need to pay attention to your lean protein choices. Without lean protein and strength training, you can lose about 1 percent of your lean tissue per year, starting in your 40s!

    How much? The National Academy of Sciences has set the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) for protein at 10 to 35 percent of their daily calories from protein. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends about 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass to build and maintain muscle mass.

    How to get more? Lean meats, eggs, seafood, dairy and poultry are all protein-rich. For plant-based protein-rich choices, choose pulses; nuts and seeds; and whole grains. Look for NOW Real Food® Organic Whole Grains (brown rice, quinoa, amaranth) Organic Nuts, and Organic White Chia Seeds. You can also choose from a wide variety of NOW® Sports protein powders that fit with your dietary needs, including whey, plant-based, soy, eggwhite and more.

  • vitamin c and e to save face slide

    Even if you’ve been vigilant about sun protection and taking care of your skin in the past, you’ll want to now. To keep fine lines and wrinkles at bay, try to get more skin-saving vitamin C and E in your diet.* As natural antioxidants, they help protect the skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays that cause skin damage.* Vitamin C is a building block for collagen, which helps give skin its firmness and structure.*

    Vitamin C Fact Sheet
    Vitamin E Fact Sheet

    How much? The RDA for vitamin C is 90 mg/day while a daily goal for vitamin E is 15 mg or 22 IUs. Many health organizations recommend much more than the RDA as a more “optimal” intake level rather than the amount necessary to avoid a deficiency.

    How to get more? The best sources of vitamin C include citrus, spinach, berries, tomatoes, potatoes and cauliflower. Look for vitamin E in wheat germ oil, nuts and seeds and plant-based oils. You’ll find vitamin C in NOW Real Food® Organic Unsweetened Dried Apricots and Organic Golden Berries. Ellyndale® Organic Macadamia Oil, and NOW Real Food® Nuts About Berries™ and Organic Nuts and Seeds are easy ways to get more vitamin E. You’ll also find vitamins C and E in NOW® supplements including Vitamin C-1000 Sustained Release Tablets, Advanced Gamma E Complex Softgels and Wrinkle Rescue™ Capsules.

    *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.