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When my eldest son got married, not only did I add an exceptional daughter-in-love to my tribe, I also welcomed some wonderful in-laws that I am happy to call my friends! My daughter-in-law’s mother, Suzanne, is a woman who enthusiastically embraces this wonderful age we are in; she is a Master Gardener, a snappy dresser, and a registered dietitian!
In other words, she is fierce. Trust me, you’d like her.
I decided to pick her brain on what we can do as women in our fifties, sixties, seventies and beyond, to stay healthy when it comes to our diets.
After all, it’s no secret that our bodies are changing and the nutrients we need on a daily basis continue to shift with age.
Healthier than Ever
It’s common knowledge that more exercise, eating green things like broccoli, and staying on a low calorie diet are pillars of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s important to really define what healthy actually is when it comes to what’s going into our bodies.
With a recent push to achieve the best health of my life, I’ve been training for my first triathlon and have reached my goal weight on the Weight Watchers Freestyle diet. It’s been hard work, but I feel better than I have in years!
But why stop there? Am I doing all I can do to take care of my body?
My super-fit, super-savvy in-law Suzanne weighs in. Here are her five top tips for healthy eating for women over fifty.
6 Tips for Health Over 50
As we age, there’s a lot of great things that happen, like added confidence, being more comfortable in our skin, being grandmothers! But there’s also a few things that aren’t quite as exciting, like wrinkles, slowing metabolisms, eyesight issues, potential for mental decline, and increased risks of illnesses.
The good news is that with a healthy diet in place, we can be proactive about our health and avoiding some of the less ideal side effects of aging. Our bodies need more help than ever, since we absorb less nutrients at this age, and now is the time to buckle down on our diets.
Eat the Rainbow
One of the most important things to remember is that your diet needs to be varied and colorful! Rotate foods to get a wide variety of nutrients from your food. Fruits and vegetables are excellent, colorful sources of vitamins and minerals, packed full of antioxidants like beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, selenium, and Vitamins A, C, and E, which lowers your risk of certain diseases.
Orange foods, like carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe, are rich sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin A helps support the function of white blood cells, which is important for a strong immune system, and promotes bone growth, and eye health.
Purple foods, like berries, cherries, red grapes, contain flavonoids help maintain proper brain function and blood flow.
The list goes on, but the most important thing to remember it that color and variety are a great way to get the nutrients your body needs.
Not All Fats are Unhealthy
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the “good” types of fat and important to add to your diet. Our bodies don’t make Omega-3 fatty acid and we must get them from Omega-3 rich foods sources or through supplements.
Why we need it: They’re an important support for cell membranes throughout the body and are thought to give extra protection from heart disease and stroke. They are helpful in fighting inflammation and important in brain health, preventing mental decline as we age.
Where to get it: Foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, anchovies, and tuna. It is recommended to have these fatty fish in your diet a minimum of two times per week. Plant and nut oils, such as olive and walnut oils, nuts (especially walnuts!), flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and leafy vegetables are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Essential to our bodies, a vitamin is a chemical compound that we either don’t make in our body or cannot make in sufficient quantities. which must be obtained through the diet.
Why we need it: Vitamins can help your body resist infections, keep your nerves healthy, and help your body get energy from food or your blood to clot properly. These are all so important when it comes to health over fifty!
Vitamins help your body work the way it should. There are 13 vitamins—vitamins C, A, D, E, K, and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, B12, and folate.) You need all of them!
Where to get it: The best way again to eat healthy is to get these nutrients from food. If this difficult for you, consider taking a multi vitamin-mineral supplement that contains 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
It can be challenging to get enough Vitamins B12 and D as we age. B12 helps support healthy nerve and blood cells. Supplements can be helpful here. The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin B12 for Women ages 50-70 is 2.4 mcg/day. Food sources high in Vitamin B12 include eggs, milk, cheese, milk products, meat, fish, and poultry and fortified foods.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D for Women ages 50-70 is 600 IU/day. Best food sources of Vitamin D include fortified dairy products, fortified orange juice, salmon and tuna. Also remember to spend some time in the sun—with sunscreen, of course—to help your skin naturally make Vitamin D.
Calcium and Vitamin D
Why we need it: We need calcium for strong, healthy bones, especially as we age. Post-menopausal women have an increased risk of osteoporosis which results in bone loss. Vitamin D helps enhance calcium absorption. That makes vitamin D a critical component to maintaining healthy and strong bones. Women can also slow the rate of bone loss with weight-bearing exercise.
Where to get it: Good sources of calcium include milk and milk produces, green leafy vegetables, legumes, fortified orange juice, soy milk, and breakfast cereal.
If you’re taking a multivitamin mineral supplement, try to pick one up that also has Vitamin D and Calcium for bone health.
It is usually better to get the nutrients you need from food, rather than a pill. That’s because nutrient-dense foods contain other things that are good for you, such as fiber. Look for foods fortified with certain vitamins and minerals, like some B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D. That means those nutrients are added to the foods to help you meet your needs.
If you don’t think you are making the best food choices, look for a supplement sold as a complete vitamin and mineral supplement. It should be well-balanced and contain 100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Read the label carefully to make sure the dose is not too large. Avoid supplements with mega-doses. Too much of some vitamins and minerals can be harmful.
As we age, we are more prone to become dehydrated. Proper hydration helps our body function as it should. How much fluid we need each day varies by individual but drinking at least 8 cups of water per day is a good idea.
Arm Yourself with Knowledge
Want to learn more about living your healthiest life yet? With the abundance of information on the internet, it can get really overwhelming really fast. Since one of my goals this year is to educate myself more on my health, I plan on skipping the added legwork of finding credible sources and just go directly to the source (aka the Healthy Living Bundle). It offers a complete library of resources from top online experts like recipe collections for unique dietary needs (there’s more than 1500 of them!), hormone balance resources, a detox guide, natural remedies and alternative health ideas, and how to start growing your own food. They even have a guide to learn more about creating a backyard homestead! So many things! 96 educational products worth more than $2,200! Yet they only cost $29.97! The catch? It’s only available for 5 days. Once a year.
Order yours before the 10th and jump in to the ultimate resource for healthy aging!
It’s worth every penny, if you ask me!