The best year of your life probably hasn’t happened yet. For most people, dieting is a way to lose the extra weight. For others, dieting is a way to lower their cholesterol, blood pressure or have more energy. Ultimately the best diet for you is one you can stick to for the long term. While you are aging, be sure to maintain a balanced diet. Thinking about a balanced diet isn’t just for your younger years. In fact, it is more important as you age. Make sure your body is getting the proper amount of fiber, vegetables, fruits, cholesterols and fats. Being proactive on this will help you keep up your health for a long time.
Boost Your Protein Intake
Since your metabolism decreases rapidly in your 50’s, it’s important to find natural ways to increase it through lifestyle and diet changes. Possibly the most important change you can make to your diet is keeping track of your daily protein intake. Protein acts as the building blocks for your cells and bodily processes. Women over 50 should aim for 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day to combat muscle loss from aging. Make sure you’re distributing your protein evenly through your meals to give your metabolism a consistent lift. Getting omega-3’s from fish means you’re also eating a great source of protein, which is important for maintaining muscle mass.
Reduce Salt Intake
Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, which leads to cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes. You only need 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt a day if you’re over 51, so avoid adding salt to food. Check packaged food for salt content, or better yet prepare your own food at home using fresh ingredients. If you use packaged or canned foods, choose brands with low-sodium options.
You must get plenty of calcium to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis. Skim milk, yogurt, and low-fat cheeses can be good ways to get calcium. Yogurt is not only a good source of calcium, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones and preventing osteoporosis, it’s also chock full of protein and probiotics, which help keep your digestive system functioning properly. Broccoli contains a large amount of calcium as well as other veggies. And take your calcium supplements. Women need 1500 to 2000 mg after menopause and men after the age of 65. Some foods may even help ease menopause symptoms. Others are shown to delay menopause, which for many of us is a ship that sailed long ago.
Oily fish and fresh legumes such as lentils and chickpeas, delayed the start of menopause by almost three years. Researchers believe the high antioxidant content of fresh legumes and oily fish explains the link, as oxygen-containing chemicals can harm egg maturation and release. Meat eaters tended to go through menopause a year later than vegetarian women. A diet high in fiber without animal fats may affect certain hormones and, subsequently, the length of the menstrual cycle and lower estrogen levels. Experts suggest menopausal women cut back on sugary foods, refined flours, fatty cuts of meat, coffee. Especially if you have trouble sleeping and for it’s hot flash inducing factors, spicy foods (trigger hot flashes), more than two glasses of wine a day for alcohol’s effect on fatigue and moodiness. Instead, focus on lean proteins, omega-3 rich fish such as salmon, high-fiber fruits like raspberries and drink plenty of water.
Berries are known for their anti-aging properties. Wild blueberries contain antioxidants, and numerous studies link blueberry intake to Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Cranberries are known for their aid in resolving urinary tract infections and are now thought to have impressive cardiovascular benefits. The antioxidants in blueberries protect your cells by destroying free radicals. Raw blueberries have more potent antioxidant benefits than blueberries baked into pies, jams or muffins. Blueberries may also prevent memory loss in seniors.
Drink More Water
As a society, we have been slowly replacing the liquids that we drink with all kinds of abnormal tasting beverages, including soda, diet soda, flavored water, vitamin water… The point is that we either forget to just drink regular fresh water throughout the day, and many people shy away from it because they don’t like it. Challenge yourself to drink 100 ounces of water every single day. Remember to space it out throughout the entire day.
Increase Fiber Intake
Adding more fiber to your diet prevents constipation and may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Choose whole grain bread instead of white bread, eat peas, lentil soup or add sunflower seeds a snack. Drink water, tea or juice to keep fiber moving through your intestines. Although fiber is important at any age, we need it as we get older to keep bowel movements regular as the body slows down. Eat apples, plant fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and seeds, quinoa, broccoli, cauliflower or other fiber-rich foods, or take a wheat grass supplement. Wheat grass helps detoxify the body, relieving problems of the gastrointestinal tract, including constipation. Fiber is also good for your heart and cardiovascular system because it helps lower cholesterol levels.
Leafy greens like spinach, collards, Swiss chard, and kale are all rich in vitamin K, which is responsible for healthy blood clotting. Vitamin C, an important antioxidant and immunity booster. Leafy greens, especially spinach and collards, are high in lutein and other carotenoids, the yellowish pigments that include precursors of vitamin A, which may delay the onset and progression of age-related macular degeneration. Greens can be easily added to most meals. The best investment you can ever make is in your own health.