Part of having a good life is being healthy, and proper nutrition is key in staying in shape. As you age, eating healthy becomes more crucial and challenging because of changes in your body and surroundings. If you’re in your 50s, here are five tips for maintaining your health through a balanced diet.
Tip #1: Eat according to your body’s needs.
As you grow older, your body changes and so does your needs. Slower metabolism, weaker senses, and slower digestion are just some of the changes that affect your body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food intake. To counteract these changes and their impact on your overall health, avoid skipping meals and practice making smarter food choices.
Tip #2: Choose wisely and know what to avoid.
Eating healthy begins with making smart choices about food. For the 50s age group, here are food staples, vitamins, and minerals that are essential to your diet.
- Fruits – Eat at least 1 ½ servings of fruits each day for fiber. If you’re growing tired of eating the usual apple or banana, you can go for other options such as melons and berries.
- Vegetables – Vegetables that are dark, green and leafy are high in anti-oxidants and you need to stock up on those. Examples of these are kale, spinach and broccoli. Also, orange and yellow vegetables such as carrots and squash should also be present in your pantry. The ideal serving of vegetables is 2 to 2 ½ cups each day.
- Whole grains – These are better sources of carbohydrates as compared to their processed and white counterparts. When buying pasta, bread, and cereals look for “whole” in the label and go for that instead. For your age, you need 6 to 7 ounces of grains daily.
- Calcium – Calcium keeps your bone healthy. That’s why it’s definitely a must in your diet. Good sources of calcium are dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese, and non-dairy products such as tofu, broccoli, almonds and kale.
- Water – As you grow older, you become more prone to dehydration because your body’s ability to regulate fluids is lessened, so make it a habit to drink water often. Sufficient water intake also lessens your chances of being constipated or infected with UTI.
- Vitamin D – It is essential in absorbing calcium and improving muscles. Fish, egg yolk, and milk are good sources of vitamin D.
- Vitamin B – It is vital to blood and nerves, but it is more difficult for older people to absorb this vitamin. You can get this from food supplements and natural food sources such as animal products.
On the other hand, these are what you should avoid:
- Salt – Salt or sodium can cause blood pressure and can be a risk factor for other health problems. So pass up on that dash of salt and use garlic, herbs and other spices instead to add taste and flavor to your food.
- Monosaturated fats – Go for good fats found in olive oil, avocados, salmon and walnuts. These delicious staples can help keep your bad cholesterol level down.
- Added sugar – This is usually found in bread and other processed food products such as canned soups and frozen dinners.
Tip #3: Cook smart.
Know the proper way to cook fresh produce in order to get the most nutrients from them. To get the most from your vegetables, the best way is to prepare them by steaming or sautéing in olive oil, instead of boiling or frying.
In addition, you need to understand that eating healthy doesn’t mean eating stale food. In fact, healthy food should be delicious and enjoyable. Look for inspiration in cookbooks or through online culinary websites and find something delicious that you can whip up by using healthy ingredients.
Tip #4: Don’t skip meals.
This rule is actually essential for all ages, but we want to emphasize its importance for middle-aged individuals. As mentioned, older people has slower metabolism. Don’t add up to that by skipping meals. Also, passing up breakfast or lunch can also make you eat more in order to compensate for the skipped meal.
Tip #5: Enjoy your meals with others.
Eating in a social setting can make meals more enjoyable, and this can result to eating better.
If you are living alone, don’t fret as you can still share your meals with other people. All you need to do is plan and be more active socially. What you can do is join classes and participate in volunteer groups. This will allow you to interact with others through different activities, and that includes meals. Adult day care centers and senior meal programs can also help you eat nutritious meals with fellow 50-somethings.
Malnutrition and health problems can get in the way of the quality of life as you grow older and enter retirement. As early as now, invest in your health by being developing healthy eating habits and making smart food choices that are suitable for your age.