6 Tips for Eating Healthy Over 50
If you are approaching age 50, you're body is getting ready to make a few changes. In fact, you may have noticed changes already. Unfortunately, your body now is not quite what it was thirty years ago. Which is even more reason to ensure you're getting the nutrients you need through a healthy diet.
At about age 20, the body's metabolism (the rate at which it burns calories) begins to slow. That means by the time you are 50, you need about 6 percent fewer calories than when you were younger. This leaves little wiggle room for that extra piece of pie or supersized order of french fries.
If that's not enough, there is a decrease in lean body mass of about 10 percent by age 60. That's why it is especially important for Oklahomans to eat lower fat, nutrient dense foods and stay physically active.
I urge you to pay attention to changing nutritional needs as you grow older. Good food choices and exercise in your 50s can have a significant effect on your health and quality of life in your 60s, 70s and 80s, even if you haven't eaten well before. It's never too late to start.
People age 50-plus should follow these guidelines to improve the chance of a healthful, active old age:
- Exercise. Even a little exercise, especially walking, is better than none. Exercise helps maintain and build muscle that is lost as we age, which increases metabolism. Exercise also helps maintain a more healthful heart and helps prevent illness. Exercise is cumulative, so taking two 15- minute walks a day is about the same as one 30-minute walk.
- Take supplements. It is important for anyone over age 50 to consider the need for an age-appropriate multivitamin. Calcium and vitamin D are especially important for bone health.
- Spice it up. After age 40, the number of taste buds decreases, causing many people to eat more bitter and sweet foods. Adding natural herbs and spices to meals can keep food healthy and appealing without adding more fat, salt and/ or sugar.
- Fiber. Make at least half of your grains whole. Fruits and vegetables also will help with fiber intake. Women need about 21 grams of fiber a day while men need about 28 grams. If you need to increase fiber, do so gradually over a few weeks and add additional fluids to your diet to compensate for the extra fiber.
- Fruits and veggies. Eat two cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables with variety each day. One serving can be a cup of frozen or fresh fruit or half a cup of dried fruit. If you have difficulty chewing raw fruits and vegetables, consider adding soups, vegetable juice, tomato sauce, stir fry or a cup of fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.
- Stay hydrated. Aging diminishes thirst perception. Drink fluids throughout the day. Water is probably the best calorie- free beverage, but if you drink sodas, stick with diet.