Remember those times when you had endless energy, could eat whatever you wanted (or nothing at all) and feel amazing every day?
As good as they might have been, the years of eating ten doughnuts in a row are gone forever. Now that you’re over 50, everything you eat has a much bigger impact – and the same goes for physical activity. If you’re suffering from any other underlying conditions too, staying in good shape is crucial.
Of course, certain rules apply to all of us regardless of age: eating all major food groups, consuming small quantities more often and creating a balanced meal schedule. However, as you age many nutritional properties are changing and taking them into account can expand your lifespan while keeping disease at bay.
Today, we’ll have a look at 5 expert-recommended changes you can make to live a long, happy life once you turn 50.
Protect your bones
Of all the organs that will be affected by age over time, your bones require special attention on your part. That’s because, once you age, every bone in your body weakens because it starts losing minerals; since your joints lose their flexibility too, you’ll be more likely to experience pain and discomfort.
Many specialists recommend improving your diet with a supplement rich in vitamin D and calcium. Not only can these two nutrients improve your bone structure, but maintaining them within healthy levels can prevent osteoporosis.
In fact, the National Osteoporosis Foundation highly encourages increasing the daily intake of calcium and vitamin D through dietary changes.
Some of the best sources of calcium, for example, are:
- Salmon and trout
You can also get more vitamin D from foods such as:
- Salmon, tuna and mackerel
- Dairy products (cheese)
- Egg yolks
Additionally, you can find many foods fortified with both vitamins, some of the most common being cereal, juice or oatmeal. Make sure to read the label of each product to check the exact quantity of vitamins it offers. Ideally, adults over 50 should get at least 600 IU of vitamin D and more than 1,000 mg of calcium per day.
If your doctor suspects a risk for developing osteoporosis, they might recommend supplements to further increase your daily calcium and vitamin D intake.
Boost your energy levels
Regardless if you’ve been working out your entire life or you’ve been more of a sedentary person, you’ve probably noticed that your energy levels have been changing recently. Now, it takes more effort to perform certain exercises, clean the house or even run daily errands.
Unfortunately, this is completely normal and unavoidable to some extent. However, if you’re secretly suffering from a vitamin B12 deficiency, for example, even the simplest tasks may feel physically overwhelming. This is why it’s crucial to get annual checkups after 50, so you can detect any abnormalities and correct them before the situation worsens.
Some of the most valuable sources of vitamin B12 are:
- Beef liver
- Red meat
Many breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin B12 as well, although we highly recommend reading the label to check their other health benefits (added sugar or artificial flavors are a no-no).
Cut down on salt
High blood pressure is one of the most common illnesses in our country – and many people affected are over 50.
There are many causes for this diagnosis, but one of the most prevalent ones regards your diet – more precisely, your daily salt intake. Since most foods on the market (like processed meals or snacks) are overloaded with salt, it’s best to stay away from this ingredient as much as possible to avoid increasing your risk of hypertension.
Aside from fast-food meals which definitely contain way more sugar than recommended, it’s best to choose sodium-free alternatives to sauces and packaged foods (which are also usually high in salt).
As for the meals you’re cooking by yourself, you can try increasing the quantity of other seasoning ingredients to provide extra flavor instead of salt. For example, garlic and onion powders, pepper, paprika and fresh herbs can bring out the flavor in your favorite foods in a much healthier way.