So, all of a sudden you are in your 50s and, yes, it now really is time to look after yourself a bit better! Of course, some will have realised this a while ago and will already be following a healthier diet, getting regular exercise, etc. However, the majority will just be coming to terms with it.
It’s not as bad as you think. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring; on the contrary, it can be absolutely delicious – a whole new world. And, as far as exercising is concerned, most people are surprised to find how much they enjoy it and how well they feel after finally getting round to starting a daily exercise routine.
The benefits of a healthier lifestyle include higher energy levels, increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, faster recuperation after an illness and better management of chronic health problems. It can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced which ultimately means a happier life.
Fruit: Whenever possible, go for whole fruit rather than juices as they will provide more fibre and vitamins and try to eat 2-3 servings every day. Try varying your fruit and include colour-rich fruit such as berries and different types of melons.
Vegetables: Focus on antioxidant-rich dark, leafy greens, such as spinach and broccoli as well as orange and yellow vegetables, such as carrots and pumpkin. Try to get at least 2-3 servings every day.
Calcium: Adequate calcium intake to maintain bone health is very important after a certain age in order to prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures. Older adults need 1,200 mg. calcium per day which can be taken by way of milk, yoghourt or cheese. Non-dairy sources include tinned fish with bones such as sardines, tofu, broccoli, cabbage and almonds.
Fibre: Always choose whole grains over processed white flour for more nutrients and morefibre. Fibre-rich foods include wholegrain or brown types of starchy foods such as bread, rice, pasta and breakfast cereals. Other good sources of fibre are beans, potatoes, lentils, peas, oats, fruit and vegetables. Older adults need 6-7 ounces of grains each day (one ounce is about 1 slice of bread).
Protein: Adults over 50 need about 0.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. To calculate how many grams of protein per day you need, simply divide your bodyweight (in pounds) in half, e.g. a 130 pound woman would need approximately 65 grams. To give you an idea, a serving of tuna has about 40 grams of protein. Other sources could come from other types of fish, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.
What to be careful with
- Reduce your salt intake to help prevent water retention and high blood pressure.
- Reduce your sugar intake. Don’t forget to look for hidden sugar in products (it can be found in all sorts of products, such as drinks, bread, tinned soups and vegetables, etc.).
- Avoid “bad” carbohydrates such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all fibre and nutrients.
It is vital to remember to drink water throughout the day. As we age, some of us are prone to dehydration which can cause a number of unwanted health issues.
EXERCISE AND HEALTH
Increased activity is the key to weight control as you age and contributes greatly towards the feeling of well-being. Thirty minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is what experts recommend.
Research shows a link between diet and many major diseases, such as coronary heart disease and cancer, and researchers advise that by walking regularly you cut your rate of physical decline by half. This is something that we should all definitely bear in mind.
We all know that these recommendations make sense and, if adjusting your lifestyle will lead to a healthier, happier life, it’s time to do it!
Canary Medical Key – Caring for you