10 Recommendations For A Healthful: Diet After 50 is a significant age for many people.
The halfway point offers new guidelines for medical exams and frequently a few health-related signs that suggest it’s time for some dietary changes.
Even if you have lived 50 years or more in good health, your nutritional requirements will change as you age.
10 Recommendations For A Healthful Diet After 50
To make sure your golden years are, well, golden, gradual dietary changes may be a good idea.
It can be useful to schedule a visit with a qualified dietitian to assist understand what nutrition your body need as you age.
I work with seniors of all ages and abilities as the clinical dietitian at Blakeford, a senior living and elder care facility in Nashville, Tennessee, to help them improve their health through sage eating.
10 Ways for Caregivers and Seniors to Improve their Diets
Let’s start by keeping in mind that diets are individualized. Depending on a person’s age, degree of activity, and specific health conditions, recommendations may alter.
There are some suggestions, nevertheless, that are applicable to the majority of seniors.
The following advice is useful for elders and caregivers who want to take charge of their health and quality of life.
Protect Your Bones
Our bones become less strong as we age because of diminished mobility and mineral loss. To prevent osteoporosis or stop the disease from getting worse, it is appropriate to increase vitamin D and calcium consumption to three times daily.
Both of these crucial nutritional components are added to a variety of foods, including cereal, bread, and juice, to help support bone health.
In order to increase the calcium content of dishes, the National Osteoporosis Foundation also suggests adding two to four tablespoons of nonfat powdered milk. You can get your recommended daily intake of calcium thanks to the 50 mg of calcium in each tablespoon.
If you or a loved one don’t believe they are consuming enough vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from their diet, consult a qualified dietitian, nurse practitioner, or physician to obtain a prescription for a multivitamin.
For our bodies to absorb calcium, enough vitamin D is required. Although food is the best source of nutrients, it can be challenging to consume enough of it on a daily basis.
A multivitamin with extra vitamin D is a better option if you already have signs of osteoporosis or thinning bones.
Boost Energy Levels
It’s typical to detect a decrease in everyday energy levels as we approach our fifties. While some of this is typical, a vitamin B12 deficiency could also be to fault.
The key to treating B12 deficiency is daily supplementation. While being lethargic is definitely not ideal, accepting a fall in energy might result in less movement and activity, which can worsen osteoporosis, damage the heart, and cause changes in bowel habits.
It’s crucial to take the necessary steps to keep active and preserve a high standard of living because overall health is all part of one giant, interconnected circle.
Beef liver, mackerel, sardines, red meat, yogurt, and fortified cereals are dietary sources of B12.
Factor in Fiber
Type 2 diabetes is a frequent condition among persons 50 and older. Dietary fiber helps lower and regulate blood glucose levels by delaying the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
Additionally crucial to digestion, fiber also lowers cholesterol and aids in maintaining a healthy weight.
Additionally, it will encourage regular bowel motions. Males 51 and older should consume 28 grams of dietary fiber per day, while females 51 and older should consume 22.4 grams, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The finest sources of fiber are plant foods (beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains), which also tend to be nutrient-dense.
Swap Out Salt
Around the age of 50, high blood pressure may become a problem. Eliminating table salt is a step toward a diet that is heart-healthy.
Instead, use ingredients like fresh herbs, lemon, dill, paprika, pepper, and garlic, onion, and pepper powder.
You may cook with a variety of sodium-free and low-sodium substitutes that provide a ton of flavor and little to no salt to foods.
Know how much sodium is in your favorite sauces, condiments, packaged meals, and prepared foods.
Making meals at home with fresh ingredients is the simplest approach to closely manage salt intake.
Watch Your Weight
Almost every senior who I see asks me how much food they should eat to be healthy. The majority worry that they might put on a few pounds as they recoup from surgery or a health setback.
The general Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for older men and women of various activity levels is shown below. But bear in mind that this is only a summary.
For some people, even their calorie intake needs to be tailored based on whether they need to maintain a healthy weight or lose/gain a few pounds.
Daily Calorie Requirements for Seniors
Women aged 51+
Men aged 51+
Sedentary (not active)
2,200 to 2,400
2,000 to 2,200
2,400 to 2,800
Gut Health = Good Health
“Nutrition boosters” are other names for prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics are organic, indigestible food ingredients that improve GI (gastrointestinal) function and calcium absorption (which is great for those who suffer from bone loss).
Eating foods like asparagus, garlic, bananas, and whole grains can help improve prebiotic intake.
Probiotics are beneficial microorganisms that exist in the gut naturally.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other infections are frequently treated with antibiotics, but these drugs can harm the GI system and kill both beneficial and bad bacteria.
Take a daily probiotic pill and consume foods like yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi to maintain healthy gut flora and hasten the digestive system’s recovery after taking these medications.
Improve Immune Function
Numerous illnesses, including atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer, are accompanied by inflammation.
As we all know, these illnesses are common among seniors, particularly because as we become older, our immune systems tend to deteriorate.
According to research, each meal should have at least half of fruit and vegetables on the plate.
As a source of carbohydrates and starch to complete meals, pick healthy animal proteins such fatty fish (salmon) or lean poultry (boneless skinless chicken breast).
Aim to consume more omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in flavonoids while avoiding added sweets and saturated fats.
Plant chemicals called flavonoids have been proven to have anti-inflammatory, antithrombogenic, anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and neuroprotective properties.
Among the foods that are rich in these phytonutrients include dark berries, cocoa, tea, soy, citrus fruits, red wine, and nightshade vegetables. An overwhelmingly plant-based diet will support immunological health.
“Hide” Nutrients in Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to increase a person’s intake of fruit and vegetables.
The nutrient value of each frozen drink may be altered by adding additional ingredients, and they are very simple to prepare and digest.
For instance, nutrient-dense foods like spinach and kale can be easily combined with fruits like oranges and apples.
Leafy greens often do not influence the flavor of the finished product, despite the fact that they may alter the color of the beverage.
There is no end to the combinations that may be created, and they can be altered to satisfy any palette or dietary needs.
Promote Skin Integrity with Vitamins C and E
Last but not least, don’t dismiss dry, sensitive skin as merely a “aging symptom.” Use antioxidants like vitamins E and C to help keep your skin healthy.
Bell peppers, cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower), and berries are excellent sources of vitamin C, while sunflower seeds, almonds, and spinach are fantastic sources of vitamin E.
Additionally, enhancing skin elasticity and resilience requires enough hydration. Healthy skin will resist injury more readily and heal wounds more quickly.
This includes common household injuries including scrapes and bruises, surgical incisions, and pressure sores.
Remember that consuming healthy foods for your skin has both beauty and health benefits!
How to Make Dietary Changes and Ensure They Stick
Anyone at any age may find it difficult to modify their diet, but older persons with established eating habits that have developed over a long period of time may find it particularly problematic.
There are particular things you, as their caregiver, may do to assist with the transition if your loved one needs to make nutritional changes to improve their health.
It can be challenging to comprehend why some people die young while others survive well into their nineties.
Being proactive at any age is essential since the body functions in strange ways. I often quote to my patients something I once read at a hospital when I was still in college:
“Nutrition is health care. Medicine is sick care.” This remark is one that people of all ages should keep in mind as they work to improve their own health, their loved ones’ health, and the quality of their lives.
For specific information on seniors’ nutrient, vitamin and mineral requirements, consult the Daily Dietary Guidelines for Individuals Age 51 and Older.