Good nutrition is the key to health as you age

by Amy Schrader published on The Press Brentwood Aug 18, 2017

You are what you eat, no matter what age you are, and for seniors, a healthy diet can not only help ward off illnesses, but can also extend your life.

“Eat lean, clean and green at least 85 percent of the time,” said Brentwood resident Deb Dutcher, certified integrative health coach and author of “Sexy, Lean and Strong After 50.”

The East County health coach works with clients, helping them to improve their health and wellness through proper nutrition, wellness and exercise.

Dutcher recommends seniors eat no more than 35 grams of sugar a day; 35 to 50 grams of fiber a day; lean proteins; healthy fats, such as olive oil, walnuts and fatty fish; and fresh and organic as much as possible. She also recommends to drink at least one-half of your weight in ounces of water a day. Seniors should avoid processed foods and limit their sodium, especially if they have heart issues.

According to Dutcher, who received her certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, there are many factors that contribute to how our nutritional needs change as we age.

“We lose hormones and digestive enzymes, which means we don’t process fat and proteins as well as we used to, along with being able to break down fibrous foods,” said Dutcher, who adds digestive enzymes and probiotics to her regimen to address these issues.

Seniors also face a slowed metabolism.

“Our metabolism is not as fast, so we need to make sure to eat to replenish and not slow down our metabolism,” said Dutcher. “Some folks eat too little, and the metabolism slows down, because the body thinks its being starved.”

Immune systems also become weaker with age, requiring extra vitamin D, and worn-out joints also need additional nutritional support so seniors can stay active, according to Dutcher. Changing your nutrition as you age will not only help you feel better and increase your mobility, but can also help you lose weight.

Antioch resident Chris Stuart, age 64, worked with Dutcher to change her diet and live a healthier lifestyle.

“The results were and still are amazing,” said Stuart. “My energy level is high, and people who haven’t seen me since losing weight are totally amazed and hardly recognize me.”

Stuart and other East County residents don’t have to look too far to make good nutritional choices in their diet. East County has a plethora of farm stands in addition to the Brentwood Farmers Market.

“Everyone should incorporate as many different vegetables in their diet as they will eat,” said Barbara Cecchini, campus director for First Generation Farmers. “By adding more and varied vegetables to one’s diet, (in addition to) more exercise – no matter what the age – it will help protect against Type 2 diabetes and lower blood pressure, and the fiber will ward off other diseases such as cancer.”

Cecchini also recommends home gardening as a source of fresh vegetables and exercise.

First Generation Farmers is located at 1230 Delta Road, in Knightsen. For more information, call 925-625-8245 or visit

For more information about Deb Dutcher, visit

Read the original interview here.