Are you eating the same foods you were eating in your 20s and 30s? Well, sticking to your old ways can cost you. As you may know, the body experiences rapid changes after age 50. Its ability to absorb nutrients fades, metabolism slows down, bone density declines and immune function weakens.
To combat these changes and maintain optimal health, you have to change your diet. Here are diet changes that will keep you healthy at age 50 and beyond.
INCREASE INTAKE OF VITAMIN B12
Vitamin B12 deficiency has been linked to anemia, digestive issues and fatigue. And it’s estimated that 47 million Americans are vitamin B12 deficient. In fact, 80 percent of vegans and 50 percent of vegetarians are deficient in B12.
You have greater risk of vitamin B12 deficiency after 50 since your body doesn’t have enough stomach acid to breakdown B12 from food. To make up for low vitamin B12 absorption, increase your intake of beef, fish, eggs, and milk. If you are vegan consume; fortified plant milks, fortified soy products, and vegan B12 supplements.
Unlike other nutrients which can be harmful when you go overboard, vitamin B12 is totally safe. According to Washington Post, this vitamin is water soluble, which means the body will flush excess amounts.
GET MORE CALCIUM
According to research, bone loss triples in women after menopause. Increasing calcium intake will help keep the bones healthy and prevent fractures.
Calcium is also essential for muscle contractions and balancing pH levels (reducing acidity) in the body. The daily recommended calcium intake for women over 51 is 1200mg and 1000mg for men.
Here are the best vegan sources for calcium. Note that excess calcium intake can cause kidney stones, digestive problems and heart disease.
INCREASE FIBER INTAKE
High fiber foods have been proven to reduce risk of colon cancer, heart disease, diabetes, constipation and promote weight loss. Unfortunately, most women don’t consume the recommended 25g per day (30g per day day for men).
If you want to prevent your waistline from expanding, increase fiber intake and steer clear of processed carbs.
Vitamin D also helps prevent bone loss. You’ll even be surprised to find out that adequate intake of vitamin D can lower mortality rate, research shows.
It’s harder to get enough vitamin D as we age because our bodies absorb fewer nutrients from food sources. Plus the skin can’t change sunlight to vitamin D as efficiently as it used to when you were younger.
Get vitamin D from food sources such as whole eggs, salmon, mushrooms and fortified foods. In fact, you may need to supplement to reach the recommended daily dose.
GET ENOUGH MAGNESIUM
The recommended daily intake of magnesium is 400mg. People who don’t reach this daily value have higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, fatigue and weak immune system.
If you choose to use supplements, make sure they don’t exceed 400mg. Here are foods that fix magnesium deficiency.
OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS
Omega 3s can help you stay young. They fight inflammation, which is known to increase risk of diseases and promote aging. Fish is the most popular source of omega 3s. Vegans can get this fatty acid from flaxseeds and almonds. Feel free to take supplements. Aim for 1000mg per day.