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We are back with another article on the nutrition requirements for men and women in the 50s. A woman's body undergoes major changes in the 50s because of menopause and a drop in the level of oestrogen. This causes a reduction in the vaginal lubrication and increases the risk of urinary tract infections.
In men, low testosterone levels cause loss of muscle mass, fatigue, erectile dysfunction and low libido.
In addition to that, low oestrogen levels can cause you to lose bone density putting you at a risk of osteoporosis. A dip in oestrogen also increases belly fat, heart disease and other age-related issues. Physical signs of ageing, a shift in circadian rhythm, losing bone mass, all these start showing up in both men and women.
In order to keep yourself healthy at this age, you should include key nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, vitamin D, fibre and antioxidants in your diet.
1. B vitamins
Important micronutrients like vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 help your body to get rid of a chemical called homocysteine which causes oxidative stress, impaired endothelial function, and thrombosis. This ultimately leads to atherosclerosis. By including these vitamin B6 foods poultry, fish, dairy products, bread, eggs, soybean, spinach, bananas and avocados in your diet, you can give your body the required amount of B vitamins it needs.
Also when you hit the 50s, the risk of Alzheimer's disease and dementia are high and it can be lowered with the help of vitamin B12 foods which help in optimal brain function.
According to the Institute of Medicine, adults over 50 should get 2.4 mcg of vitamin B12 and 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 daily.
Calcium, the bone-strengthening mineral, is very much important at this stage as you have an increased risk of bone fractures and loss of bone density. So, to keep your bones healthy and strong include calcium-rich foods such as milk, salmon, leafy greens and yogurt.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, aim for roughly 1,200 mg of calcium per day. This applies to men and women.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin which helps in the better absorption of calcium and phosphorous. The best source of vitamin D is sunlight and most women and men over 50 don't get enough vitamin D. They should aim for 600 IU (15 mcg) from foods like fatty fishes, orange juice, dairy products, egg yolks, soy milk, etc.
When you are in your 50s, hormonal imbalances are common. To balance hormones such as leptin, the starvation hormone, your diet must contain high fibre vegetables. This will normalize the leptin levels by making you feel fuller for longer. Include high fibrous foods like broccoli, cabbage, whole grains, etc., in your diet.
Antioxidants act as free radical scavengers that have the ability to neutralize free radicals. These free radicals harm the cells which could lead to many diseases including cancer.
Most breast cancers and ovarian cancers are diagnosed in the 50s, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the case of men, prostate cancer is mostly diagnosed after 50.
So, include cancer-fighting foods like dark green leafy vegetables, dark yellow or orange fruits and vegetables. Other nutrients like vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorous, etc., should also be a part of your diet.
Healthy Habits To Incorporate In Your 50s
- Curb your sweets intake and sugary drinks in moderation. Watch your blood sugar levels to prevent type 2 diabetes.
- Include anti-inflammatory foods like turmeric, garlic, cocoa, tea and berries.
- Consume more essential fatty acids.
- Adjust your calorie intake as metabolism continues to slow down.
- Ease menopause symptoms with cashew nuts, apples, corn and soy as they are great sources of phytoestrogens.
- Consume a vegetarian diet a few times a week as vegetarian foods are low in calories.
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