Eating Well in Your 50s to Stay Healthy: At 50, the body changes dramatically. For women, first there is menopause and its many side effects. Then, the metabolism continues to slow, and bone mass decreases. To avoid gaining weight, it is generally proposed to reduce grain products in one’s diet in terms of four to six servings, depending on the serving size.
It is also important to increase the consumption of natural phytoestrogens to reduce certain side effects of menopause, such as hot flashes. Tofu, miso, soy beverages fortified with calcium and vitamin D, and flax seeds are rich in phytoestrogens. To protect bones against osteoporosis, experts recommend increasing one’s calcium intake to three servings per day. With regard to antioxidants, one must continue to eat just as much as before, but by preferring vegetables over fruit as a source of these.
Did you know that more and more studies suggest that vitamin D reduces the risk of developing certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate or colon cancer? At the age of 50, you are advised to take supplements of vitamin D, at 400 IU per day.
To protect the heart against cardiovascular disease, experts suggest eating fish two or three times a week. The omega-3 content in fish like salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel and sardines has a cardio-protective effect.
To strengthen the immune system, nothing is better than eating yogurt daily, enriched with probiotics or made from fermented milk. These foods contain bacteria that our intestinal flora needs to stay healthy. DanActive, the probiotic drink, and the fermented milk brand Bio-K are brands that we recommend.
When Eating Healthy Becomes a Problem
Be conscious of what you eat. The need to give your body what it needs to be healthy and fully functional is legitimate. However, in recent years, in addition to cases of anorexia and bulimia, more and more people suffer from orthorexia: a term used to describe the behavior of people obsessed with healthy or “righteous” eating. Warnings are all around as far as the dangers of today’s food, such as “beware of pesticides”, “beware of trans fats”, and “beware of cholesterol.”
Many people start this behavior by simply choosing to eat organic. This is a healthy thing, no doubt, until you find that organic foods are the only things that these people will let themselves eat, denying themselves anything that may be even a little “indulgent” which would have no negative effects on their health. Little by little, eating “healthy” becomes an obsession for them, leading them to compulsively calculate everything they eat, and to spontaneously stop eating. And there’s usually more trouble brewing in the background of the health! Everything is about balance. The goal is to have a healthy diet while still having the flexibility to treat yourself.
The Dangers of Dieting
Did you know that restricting your diet is harmful to your natural weight? The body has a sort of memory of its own. When we begin on a restricted diet, the body does not know if its next “recharge” is up in two days or two months, and starts preparing itself as it would in times of famine – by retaining more water and fat. This leads to experiencing an even higher weight than what one originally started off with. Periods of food restriction lead to great frustration, too, and can result in compulsive overeating with the same result of ending up gaining instead of losing weight! Balance is indeed the key.
The 5 Best and Most Popular Foods for Eating Well
- Fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel, sardines)
- Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, blackberries)
- Green vegetables (spinach, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts)
- Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds)
- Legumes (soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans)