How to maintain a healthy diet when you’re over 50
As you get older, it becomes more important than ever to have a healthy diet.
That’s because over-50s have a higher risk of contracting illnesses like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. So by making a few simple changes to your diet, you could see significant effects on your health.
Eating well doesn’t mean you must give up the foods you love – simply that you should eat them in moderation. Follow a few simple nutrition tips and make clever substitutes, and you’ll barely notice that your diet has changed for the better.
Basic nutrition tips for older food-lovers
In essence, nutrition tips for over-50s are similar to those for any age: try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and cut out fatty foods, salt and sugars. However, it’s more important to follow these rules when you’re older, as your metabolic rate slows, your bones get weaker and you lose muscle.
Try to increase your intake of calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones and teeth healthy and eat more fibre-rich foods, which will keep you fuller for longer. An easy way to do this is to supplement processed grains with wholemeal. Substitute white rice for brown rice once in a while, and choose wholemeal pasta as well. Try replacing regular white potatoes with sweet potatoes and squash, and make sure you eat plenty of dark green vegetables, like broccoli, spinach and kale. This article from Boots Web MD focuses on nutrition for women over-50 but its main points are relevant for men as well.
Another important change is to choose lean meat and eat less of it. Go for chicken breast and fish instead of steak and pork belly, for instance. When you eat meat, you should also think about how you cook it: chicken and fish are better for you when they’ve been grilled or poached, rather than fried. You should also attempt to have at least three vegetarian days a week. Vegetarian cooking has a reputation for being dull, but today’s vegetarian recipes are often more exciting than their meaty counterparts. Leading chefs like Jamie Oliver and Delia Smith offer a variety of recipe inspirations for your meat-free days.
Incorporating exercise into your daily routine
In order to live a truly healthy lifestyle, the changes you make to your diet should be accompanied by at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Don’t be fooled into thinking that exercise is not for you when you’re over-50.
Find a fitness pursuit that’s fun and suits your lifestyle to ensure that it becomes a cherished part of your daily routine. Some over-50s prefer gentle, mind-clearing exercises like yoga, while others prefer the rigour of team sports and aerobics classes. And remember, it doesn’t have to seem like “sport” for it to be good for you. Dancing is a great way to work out, and playing in the park with your dog can also offer an effective way to stay active.
If you’re not sure how to get started, book a consultation with a professional fitness trainer and a nutritionist. These experts will be able to show you how to make vital changes to your daily routine.