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How Plant-Based Diets Support Healthy Aging (+ How to Transition and Save BIG!)

By Sixty and Me February 01, 2020 Health and Fitness

As we grow into our mature years, we start to realize that every day is precious. That said, we don’t just want to live longer; we want to live better. We don’t just want more days. We want days filled with passion, people and purpose.

We want to have the energy, strength and mental fortitude to squeeze every precious experience out of life. And, this means giving our body the nutrition, exercise and social engagement that it needs to thrive.

Of course, there are many paths to healthy aging. But, today, I want to focus on one option that more women than ever are choosing to embrace – eating a plant-based diet.

For most of my life, I have preferred to eat vegetables and only enjoy meat occasionally, at family gatherings or special occasions. So, I was delighted when Vitacost offered to sponsor an article on the benefits of plant-based diets.

From February 2 – 3, 2020, you can get 15% off of your order with Vitacost (code: OURSITE).

But, even if you are reading this article after this time, I highly encourage you to check them out as they have regular sitewide promotions.


This is a topic that is close to my heart, not only because of the health benefits of eating more fruits, vegetables and grains, but, also because of the positive impact that such a decision can have on the animals with which we share this world.

So, let’s start by talking about what a plant-based diet really is and how it might help to facilitate healthy aging. Then, we can discuss some simple ways that you can replace some of the meat in your diet with healthy veggies, fruits and grains.

Please remember that everyone’s body is different, so, it’s best to talk to your doctor before making major changes to your diet or deciding whether to take supplements.

What Exactly is a Plant-Based Diet?

A whole-food, plant-based diet focuses on natural foods derived from plants. These can be consumed in their whole, unrefined (or minimally refined) state.

As the name suggests, a plant-based diet does not include any animal products, such as meat, milk, eggs, or honey. That said, many people, including myself, choose to enjoy fish and meat, occasionally, and, in my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the “mostly plant-based diet” approach.

Here are some examples of foods that form the basis of a plant-based diet.

  • Any fruit, like apples, citrus fruits, berries, grapes and bananas.
  • Vegetables like corn, kale, avocadoes, spinach and broccoli
  • The tubers category includes potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and beets
  • Whole, unrefined grains like oats, barley, quinoa, brown rice and millet
  • Legumes include beans of any kind, lentils, peas and pulses.

How Might a Plant-Based Diet Help with Healthy Aging?

The health benefits of plant-based diets have been well documents across age groups. But, why might older adults specifically benefit from this option?

According to Harvard Medical School, the most common benefits of plant-based foods include a decreased risk of cancer, a stronger immune system, a healthier weight, more energy and better sleep.

In addition, according some studies, plant-based diets may positively impact telomere activity. If you haven’t heard of telomeres before, they are the enzymes that work to rebuild the ends of our DNA strands. As we get older, our DNA gets shorter, but research claims that plant-based diets may be able to reverse the process and, ultimately, slow down the aging process.

Additionally, plant-based diets can boost the immune system… a major benefit, given the fact that people over 60 tend to be at a higher risk for complications related to bacterial and viral infections.

On the flip side, eating more meat and less vegetables may put you at higher risk for diabetes, obesity and heart disease.

These are just a few of the reasons that so many women our age have decided to embrace plant-based diets. By eating locally available fruits, vegetables and grains and, where necessary, using plant-based supplements from companies like Vitacost, these women are embracing healthy aging and getting more from life.

How to Move to a More Plant-Based Diet… One Small Step at a Time!

If you are used to eating packaged food and, perhaps, a little too much meat, the idea of moving to a plant-based diet can be a little intimidating. But, don’t worry! I have your back. I have made the transition and you can too!

Instead of trying to switch all at once, many of us find that it is easier to substitute one item or category of food products at a time. Let’s look at a few replacement options that can take care of your protein, dairy and vitamin needs.

How to Get Protein While on Plant-Based Diet

Animal-based food products are synonymous with protein. So, you may be wondering how to get enough protein into your body while following a plant-based diet.

The good news is that animal products are not the only source of protein! Soy alternatives like Tofu, tempeh and edamame are among the richest sources of protein in a vegan diet.

You can also choose lentils, peanuts, or almonds, which are all packed with nutritious ingredients and absolutely tasty!

You might also want to include in your menu a plant-based protein powder to fill in your protein stores. For snacking, the Vitacost gluten-free high protein lemon cashew bars are another great option.


What Are Some Replacements for Dairy Products in a Plant-Based Diet?

While adhering to a whole-food, plant-based diet, most people avoid animal products entirely. but others, like myself, may choose to eat small amounts of eggs, poultry, seafood or even meat. It all depends on your goals and preferences.

That said, if you do want to replace dairy in your diet, there are plenty of plant-based products to choose from, like this tasty Almond Based Beverage.

Other dairy replacement drinks are made with rice and oats, like Vitacost’s Organic Rice Dream. You can also consider including a tasty Protein Nutritional Shake.

What About Vitamins and Minerals?

For the most part, whole plant foods contain all the essential nutrients we need. One exception is vitamin B12, which is only found in meat.

You can get some B12 from fortified foods such as plant-based milks and cereals, but, when you pass 50, it may be best to buy a simple B12 supplement. This is because, at our age, many people lose the ability to absorb vitamin B12 from food sources.

Vitacost has some great options for Vitamin B12 supplements.

Vitacost Can Support Your Transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle!

If you are interested in switching to a healthier diet, Vitacost is a great one-stop shop for vitamins, supplements, healthy foods and other plant-based nutrition products. They also have a great selection of bath and cruelty-free beauty products with which you can experiment.

From February 2 – 3, 2020, you can get 15% off your order with Vitacost (code: OURSITE).

But, even if you are reading this article after this time, I highly encourage you to check them out as they have regular sitewide promotions.


Do you think living on a plant-based diet is healthy? Which plant-based foods do you love the most?

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Please check with your own doctor before making any changes to your diet or trying any new supplements.

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The Author

Sixty and Me is a community of over 500,000 women over 60 founded by Margaret Manning. Our editorial team publishes articles on lifestyle topics including fashion, dating, retirement and money.

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