5 Diet Changes Women Over 50 Should Make Right Now

July 10, 2022

middle aged couple with healthy food

You have likely heard the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!” Like many sayings, there is a lot of embedded wisdom in this one, and the advice particularly applies to women over 50. As you age, a lot of things change with your body, and most of these changes, such as wrinkles and various aches and pains, are not particularly welcome.

Some of these changes we can’t do much about, but there are some preventative nutritional steps you can take to be proactive. No matter where you are on the 50 and older timeline, it’s never too late to make healthy decisions. Here are five relativity easy changes you can make today that will help you age with ease and grace:

One - Calcium

Calcium is not only needed to build strong, dense bones, but is also vital for proper heart, nerve, and muscle function as well. Recommendations for how much daily calcium women need are based on their age. Women aged 19 to 50 require 1000 mg a day, while those aged 51 and older require more at 1200 mg a day.

If you eat dairy, this is perhaps the easiest way to get your daily calcium supply. This means three to four 8-ounce servings of dairy a day. If you are lactose intolerant, canned salmon, broccoli and legumes are all good sources.  Calcium supplements can help you get up to the daily mark.

Two - Vitamin D

Vitamin D is tightly connected with calcium metabolism, as it helps the calcium in your gut get absorbed. After all, if you can’t absorb the calcium you get through food or supplements, no matter how much you take, it’s not going to do any good. Women aged 50 and older need 800 to 1000 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D a day with the safe upper limit for adults usually set at 4000 IU.

Of course, you can produce Vitamin D in your skin on exposure to sunlight, but for most people who spend much of the time indoors and also use sunscreen when outside, this is not usually a reliable way to ensure you are getting enough. Foods high in Vitamin D include fatty fish such as wild-caught mackerel, salmon, and tuna. Vitamin D is also added to many foods such as milk, orange juice, fortified cereals, and soy milk.

Three - Protein

Protein plays many critical and diverse roles in the body including the repair and rebuilding of body tissues. For women over 50 protein is vital in conserving muscle mass. If you eat animal products, lean meats such as chicken, fatty fish such as salmon, and also eggs are good sources of protein. Plant-based sources include soy-based products such as tofu and textured vegetable protein (TVP, lentils, chickpeas, and most varieties of beans, hempseed, and nutritional yeast. Women over 50 need 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds). For example, If you weigh 140 pounds you need at least 63 grams of protein each day.

Four - Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for brain function, the formation of red blood cells, and healthy nerves. Women need approximately 2.4 micrograms of B12 a day. Because Vitamin B12 is not present in plant foods, you will need to either consume animal products such as poultry, meat, fish, and dairy products or fortified foods such as some cereals or take a supplement.

Five - Sugar

This last suggestion is not to add something, but to take something away. Reducing sugar in your diet can have a profound impact on your health, as processed foods and sugary drinks have very little if any nutrition and are loaded with calories.  Too much sugar in your diet can even speed up the aging of your skin.

Bonus Diet Change - Eat To Boost The Diversity Of Your Gut’s Microbiome

The latest research shows that your gut’s microbiome (the collection of good bacteria that live in your intestines) plays a huge role in the promotion of your overall health. This is especially important as you age. You want to aim for a diverse microbiome. Here’s what to do: get enough fiber in your diet, stay away from refined foods, eat more naturally fermented foods (yogurt, kimchi, naturally fermented pickles etc.) and eat less meat.

So there you have it! Five simple changes you can make to your diet today to make a huge difference in your health.

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