With the passing of every year, the human body starts to slow down. Our metabolic rate decreases as we age and this has been attributed to a decrease in overall muscle mass with each passing year. As we become older two important changes take place:
Our skeletal musculature decreases, and this is an organ which uses up the most energy in a human being.
The overall percentage of fat tissue present in the body increases.
It is common to see an increase in fat tissue around the abdominal area as we age, especially if your energy intake is greater than the amount you need. Food plays a large part in delaying the ageing process along with continuing physical activity and not smoking.
The empty calories you might have been able to consume as a teenager will simply not be possible in your 50s. You must ensure that your diet is nutritious and benefits your health in every way possible. Keeping this in mind, here are the foods you need to incorporate into your diet after the age of 50.
Keep Fats and Added Sugars to a Minimum
Try to avoid eating foods which contain a high amount of salt and too much added sugar because they will only increase your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. After the age of 50, you are very likely to be taking some medication and certain foods can react with these medicines and make them less effective. Always check with your doctor in case you are not allowed to eat certain food types.
Another important point is to absolutely avoid food with empty calories, which is any type of food with no nutritional value but with plenty of calories. Junk food falls under this category and must be kept to a minimum.
Remember to Hydrate
As you age, it is likely that your sense of thirst will be diminished. Always remember to drink plenty of water and other liquids such as milk, to avoid becoming dehydrated. Keep a glass of liquid with you at every meal and sip on some form of liquid throughout the day.
In your 50s, it is important to maintain a fiber-rich diet. Your body requires high levels of calcium to deal with menopause and other changes that are taking place. A fiber-rich diet helps to balance out the hormones in your body such as cortisol. For this reason, you must include foods such as cabbage, broccoli and Brussel sprouts in your diet. These will help to slow down digestion and make you feel full for longer by stabilizing blood sugar and insulin levels. Fiber also helps you to avoid over-eating, which can have detrimental effects on your overall health in your 50s, when your metabolism is already slower that it was a few decades ago.
Instead of eating animal protein, which tends to slow down your metabolism, try to switch to plant protein instead. Lentils, whole grains and beans are some great options to incorporate into your diet. Hummous, for example, is a delicious and healthy snack that requires blending chickpeas together with a hint of olive oil and some other spices.
Increasing your intake of plant based protein doesn’t have to mean eating bland food. Look for recipes on the internet or in cookbooks and you might just be surprised at the variety of dishes you can make at home. Lentils can also form the base for some wonderful soups and broths to enjoy during the cold months.
It is important to incorporate foods that are rich in B-vitamins, especially B6. These help to prevent heart diseases and keep you from craving junk food. Some excellent options include bananas, potatoes and pomegranates. Foods rich in B12 help to keep your nervous system in great shape and can be found in eggs, fish and chicken.
Eggs are especially nutritious for you in your 50s because they are a complete protein. Not only do they help to build muscle, they also contain plenty of omega-3 which promotes healthy metabolism and keeps your nerves functioning as required. Eggs are also beneficial for your eyes because they contain plenty of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin.
In your 50s, having strong bones is a priority and Vitamin K helps to build your bones. Foods which are rich in Vitamin K include green, leafy vegetables such as Kale, cabbage and broccoli. Prunes and spring onions are also rich in Vitamin-K. Try to incorporate plenty of salads into your diet to ensure the correct amount of Vitamin K is being absorbed into your system.
Eat fish, ideally, twice a week. Aim to eat one portion of oily fish such as fresh tuna, sardines, trout or salmon. In general, smaller fish don’t contain as much mercury as larger fish so aim to eat those. Fish is a great source of protein and compared to any other source of protein, fish contains fewer calories, less saturated fat and more quality fats. Most diet experts recommend incorporating fish into your diet at any age to improve your health.
Fish also promotes healthier bones and muscles, improves the health of your blood cells and helps to prevent depression, among other benefits. Not only does it promote improved sleep, it also helps your eyesight, helps to maintain a healthy thyroid and maintains healthy nerves. Overall, this is a powerful food which you must include in your diet.
As we get older, our body metabolism changes and we must adjust to our age by making appropriate adjustments to our diet. Avoiding junk food is a must and eating healthy is no longer an option. Keep these tips in mind the next time you want to figure out what you need to include in your shopping cart at the supermarket.