Your body changes with age, so your diet needs to change too. These 3 tips can help you get the nutrients you need. You are what you eat, right? For women over 50, eating the right foods becomes even more important to avoid health problems.
For women over 50, it’s important to target three nutrients to combat the most common changes caused by aging.
1. Calcium for bone health
Osteoporosis gets a lot of attention, and most older women know that the risk of developing this bone disease increases with age. In fact, one in three women over the age of 50 is at risk of a bone fracture caused by osteoporosis. Osteoporosis also affects men, but not at such high rates. We absorb less calcium as we age, and some women’s ability to tolerate dairy products also declines with age. Dark leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified orange juice are other good sources.
Women over 50 need 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day. Use the Nutrition Facts label on food products to track your intake.
2. Protein for healthy muscle mass
Older women tend to sit longer and exercise less. This aggravates a natural aging process called sarcopenia, which is the loss of muscle mass. By the time they approach 80, women may have lost up to half of their skeletal muscle mass. Eating enough protein reduces the impact of this muscle wasting.
Healthy plant-based diets that don’t include meat, a major source of protein, can still provide plenty of protein if you choose wisely. Choose more soy, quinoa, eggs, dairy, 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 need at least 63 grams of protein per day.
3. Vitamin B-12 for brain function
As women age, they absorb fewer nutrients from their diet. One of the key nutrients they may not be getting enough of 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, milk, lean meats, fish, and fortified foods like cereals and grains. Vegans, in particular, will need to choose more fortified foods, but even older adults 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.
3 bonus tips
– Make whole foods the basis of your diet.
By focusing on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, you will avoid many common age-related problems.
– Drink before you feel thirsty.
The way your body senses thirst changes as you age. Be sure to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Bring a bottle of water and drink a glass of it with every meal.
– Make an appointment with the food. (And respect it.)
Put the plan on a calendar. By simply making a ‘date’ with this apple, you will be more likely to eat it.
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