After 50: Nutritional needs
As we age, our bodies change. Our nutritional needs also need to change. Nutrition comes from food and water. Nutritional needs are different for men and women, certain medical conditions, activity level and age.
Food provides us with the energy and nutrients we need to stay healthy. Men and women need protein (meat, fish, dairy, beans and nuts), carbohydrates (whole grains), healthy fats (healthy oils), vitamins, minerals and water. These things can help prevent some diseases. These include: osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.
way to wellness
Conscious eating is important after the age of 50. That means thinking about everything you eat and drink. Take time to plan your meals, meals and snacks. Some tips for careful eating include:
- Choose a variety of healthy foods at each meal. This includes servings of fruits, vegetables, protein and whole grains.
- Avoid unhealthy calories such as cakes, biscuits, chips, soft drinks and alcohol.
- Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol. Avoid saturated and trans fats. Saturated fats are of animal origin (red meat and dairy products). Trans fats are found in processed foods. These include packaged baked goods.
- Control the portion size. Keep in mind that a 3-ounce portion of meat is the size of a deck of cards. It is good to enjoy a few french fries from time to time. But don’t waste your bag of chips while watching TV. Measure the appropriate amount and keep the bag.
- Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables if prompted.
- Add healthy spices to your diet if your tastes have changed. Do not add salt.
- Learn to read labels. Packaged items contain food labels. These labels tell you what a serving is, as well as the amount of calories, total fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, potassium and protein per serving.
Try to get the right nutrients at every meal. Good nutrients include:
- Daily fiber (from food)
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Bad nutrients include:
- Total fats (saturated and trans fats)
Aspects to be considered
Follow your doctor’s nutritional advice. Not everyone has the same nutritional needs after the age of 50. A person with diabetes may need to control carbohydrates first and calories second. A person with high blood pressure may need to control their sodium levels more than other nutrients. In addition, not all nutrients are created equal. For example, calories from fruit are healthier than calories from cake. Carbohydrates in whole grains are healthier than those in sweets.
Men and women over the age of 50 need different amounts of calories every day. For example:
- Women who are not physically active should consume 1,600 calories a day.
- Women who are moderately active should consume 1,800 calories a day.
- Women who are very active should consume between 2,000 and 2,200 calories a day.
- Men who are not physically active should consume 2,000 calories a day.
- Men who are moderately active should eat between 2,200 and 2,400 calories a day.
- Men who are very active should eat between 2400 and 2800 calories a day.
With age, sodium is a problem for both men and women. After the age of 50, people should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of salt a day. That’s about two-thirds of a teaspoon. Do not add salt to your diet. read nutrition labels and monitor the amount of salt in packaged and processed foods. Canned foods and processed meats (bologna, bacon, hot dogs) contain large amounts of salt. A little sodium is good for the nerves. However, too much can increase the risk of certain medical conditions.
Too much sodium causes the body to retain fluids. This can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. In women over 50 and after menopause, excess sodium causes their bones to lose calcium. This leads to bone loss, a condition known as osteoporosis.
Food safety is another concern for men and women over the age of 50. As we age, our bodies are less able to fight infections from harmful foods. Wash raw food with soap. Keep hands, cutting tools and surfaces clean with hot soapy water when preparing food. Cook food to a suitable temperature. Always refrigerate food within 2 hours of cooking.
Men and women over the age of 50 need a lot of water. Doctors recommend drinking water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, falls, low blood pressure, kidney failure and other conditions. Drinking enough water helps your kidneys remove toxins from your body.
Even if you are not thirsty, it is important to drink water throughout the day. Clean water is the best. However, water can be obtained from soups and limited amounts of coffee and tea. Too much caffeine causes your body to lose water. Try to add water to your routine by drinking a glass before each meal and snack. Also, drink sips of water during meals and snacks. Remember to drink plenty of water before exercising or being out in the sun.
Questions to ask your doctor
- If I naturally have low blood pressure, should I monitor my daily sodium intake?
- Can I take vitamins to supplement what I don’t get with food right now?
- How can I replace dairy products if I have lactose intolerance?
- How many calories should a man and a woman consume per day if they are trying to lose weight?
National Institute on Aging: Healthy Eating: Smart Food Choices for Healthy Aging
US Food and Drug Administration: Using the Nutrition Facts Label: A Practical Guide for Older People