The nutrition of a person after 50 is crucial. It is arguably the single most important factor in maintaining a healthy body at this age. You can’t take much more abuse in the form of fast food, inactivity, and too much alcohol. The side effects are imminent. Therefore,  changes in diet  are imminent in women after 50 .

Women over 50 and new habits

Good nutrition is essential throughout life, of course, but around and after age 50, changes occur within the body that make the foods you eat of particular importance, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN , owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition in New York.

” As you age, you lose muscle mass, about 10 percent every decade after age 45,” she says. “While you are losing muscle, you are more likely to gain body fat and require fewer calories .” This is because muscle burns more calories than body fat, he adds.

It ‘s also important to prioritize exercise , particularly resistance training, to help counteract that decline in metabolism that occurs with aging.

You should prioritize nutrition to prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions that are of more concern as people age.

1. Eat fatty fish

Eating at least two 3.5-ounce servings of cooked fatty fish like salmon, tuna, or herring each week can help keep your heart health strong. These fish provide omega-3 fatty acids that help the heart. They are essential to a person’s overall health and are promoted for their protective effects, especially on the brain, heart, and eyes.

Add more plums to your diet

Bone health is important as you age; about a third of women and 20 percent of men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Eating prunes helps strengthen bone health and maintain healthy bones. In fact, eating five to six plums a day has been shown to help prevent bone loss , according to a study conducted in  Osteoporosis International . Add them to a salad, or make jam or even brownies with them.

The bone-protective effects of dried plum in postmenopausal women have been supported by several animal studies and confirmed in randomized controlled trials . 

2. Consume tomato sauce

Surprisingly, this food helps prevent wrinkles. Tomatoes are red gems that provide the antioxidant lycopene. This antioxidant can help protect skin from wrinkles and other damage that occurs due to UV light, it adds. Cooked tomatoes are preferred because your body absorbs the lycopene from them better. You can add tomato sauce to pasta or use it in a zucchini recipe.

3. Limit sugar as a primary diet change

Of  the dietary changes we should all  make at any age is limiting added sugar intake, and this becomes even more important as you age. Added sugar, like table sugar and brown sugar, should make up no more than 10 percent of your total calories. So, for a 2,000 calorie daily diet, this translates to about 12 teaspoons of added sugar.

For the extra sugar you add to your day, it’s recommended to use one that offers some nutrition like plain maple syrup. It is a unique sweetener because it contains more than 60 health-assisting polyphenols, as well as the mineral manganese that helps with blood sugar and the B vitamin riboflavin. You can lightly sweeten the beans overnight, a muffin recipe, or the Maple-Dijon Salad Dressing.

Even a very important recommendation would be to accustom our palate to the natural flavor of food, this will help us avoid even natural sweeteners, learning to consume drinks and foods without extra flavors.

4. Don’t eat trans fats

Although you want to avoid them at all times, doing so becomes even more important as you age. Before menopause, estrogen provides some protection against heart disease. But after menopause, women are at a higher risk for heart disease, and trans fats don’t help at all – on the contrary, they are very harmful.

Trans fats can increase bad LDL cholesterol, lower good HDL cholesterol, and increase the risk of heart disease.

Avoid these types of fats by reading ingredient labels to make sure partially hydrogenated oil is not an ingredient.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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