As people age, their dietary needs begin to change. Foods that were once staples of your diet as a youth may be restricted once you hit a certain age, while other foods you may have always avoided may now be necessary to fuel and support a healthy body.
Eating healthy foods and exercising may not be enough to sustain health, as hormonal changes and other health effects as a person reaches age 50 can have a profound impact on his or her nutritional requirements. The following are a few things men and women over 50 may want to consider as they look to eat a healthy diet for years to come.
Both men and women age 50 and up have a reduced ability to produce vitamin D through exposure to the sun. Extra vitamin D will be needed from foods and supplements. Everyone over the age of 50 should take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU (10 µg), according to Canada’s Food Guide. Without adequate vitamin D, bone strength and health can deteriorate because vitamin D promotes calcium absorption. Vitamin D also has other roles, including helping neuromuscular and immune function and reducing inflammation.
People over age 50 should increase their intake of unsaturated fats and reduce consumption of saturated fats. Nutrient-rich unsaturated fats can guard against heart conditions, protect against stroke, keep skin supple, and even help men and women maintain good neurological health. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in nuts, olives, seeds, and fatty fishes.
According to Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as they age, men and women need more protein in their diets to maintain their muscle mass. The amount of protein needed at a younger age no longer may be adequate. Look for lean sources of protein from fish and poultry. Beans are also a low-fat source of protein that can help fulfill daily protein requirements.
Eating more fiber can help with digestive and intestinal problems, such as constipation. Constipation can occur when fiber intake is not enough, coupled with a more sedentary lifestyle. The best way to get fiber is through diet. Leave the skins on fruit and vegetables and choose whole fruits over juices. Whole-grain breads and cereals also are good sources of fiber. Dry beans and lentils can add a fiber boost. Always increase fiber slowly to determine your tolerance.
The National Institute on Aging says women over the age of 50 need between 1,600 and 2,000 calories, depending on how physically active they are. Men need between 2,000 and 2,400 calories per day. With each passing year there is a decrease in the energy required to maintain body weight, so caloric intake should be adjusted accordingly.
As a person ages, his or her body may not signal it is thirsty as well as it once did, so it’s possible that you may not recognize when you are thirsty or dehydrated. The Mayo Clinic recommends around nine to 10 cups of beverages per day to remain hydrated.
Eating healthy and changing one’s diet is important as a person ages, as dietary needs at age 50 may be quite different from what they were at age 30.
— Metro Creative
Dietary recommendations change for people age 50 and older.