Your body changes as you age, so your diet should change, too. These dietary tips can help you ensure you are getting the nutrients you need after age 50 to maintain good health.
For women over 50, eating the right foods, which provide the right nutrients, becomes all the more important as they help prevent the majority of health problems. Decades of research have armed healthcare professionals with nutritional knowledge that can help women stay vibrant as they age.
Women over 50 should target three important nutrients to combat the most common changes caused by aging:
- Calcium and Vit D for bone health
Women over 50 are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis. In fact, one in three women over the age of 50 is at risk for a bone fracture caused by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis affects men, too, but in much lower rates.
We absorb less calcium as we age, and some women’s ability to tolerate dairy products also declines as they age. Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, chard) are very good sources of calcium.
Women over 50 need 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Taking vitamin D supplements helps to fix calcium, as well as 30 min of physical activity per day.
- Protein for healthy muscle mass
Older women tend to sit more and exercise less. This worsens the natural aging process called ‘sarcopenia’, which is the loss of muscle mass. Eating enough protein reduces the impact of this muscle loss.
Vegetarians who do not include meat, an important source of protein, can still have protein intake by choosing to favor vegetable proteins present in: soy, quinoa, nuts, seeds and beans. Your protein needs depend on your weight.
For women over 50, experts recommend 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. If you weigh 60 Kg, for example, you would need at least 63 grams of protein per day.
- Vitamin B-12 for brain function
As women age, they absorb fewer nutrients. A key nutrient they may not be getting enough is vitamin B-12, which is essential for maintaining healthy red blood cells and brain function.
The best sources of vitamin B-12 are eggs, lean meats, fish, and fortified foods like cereals. Vegans, in particular, will need to choose more fortified foods, but even seniors who eat all foods may have difficulty getting enough vitamin B-12. The recommended daily intake of vitamin B-12 for women over 50 is 2.4 micrograms per day.
Good to keep in mind after 50
Choosing whole foods, fruits and vegetables will help you avoid many common problems that come with age.
Drink before you are thirsty. The way your body senses thirst changes as you age. Be sure to drink at least 1-1.5L of water, even if you are not thirsty.
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