Post-50, there are certain nutrients your body needs to power through the next phase of your life with some foods, in particular, that should become weekly favourites.
What men need in their 50s
During their 50’s, men should be more concerned about their long-term health, and one of the biggest concerns is usually heart health. Omega 3 from oily fish such as salmon is essential for good heart health, and this can protect in several ways, including reducing inflammation in the body and helping to increase HDL (good) cholesterol. If you don’t eat any oily fish every week, then try a supplement such as Healthspan Super Strength Omega 3 (£7.95) or BioCare Mega Epa Forte Omega-3 Fish Oil (25.45).
Prostate health is also important for men over 50 who may be experiencing the effects of an enlarged prostate or worried about the risk of prostate cancer. Foods such as tomatoes contain lycopene which may help with prostate enlargement and may also have a protective effect over prostate cancer.
Soy isoflavones found in soy milk and tofu may also help with prostate enlargement, and soy protein has also been shown to help reduce cholesterol, which may be more of a concern for men over the age of 50. All men should make sure they are eating enough zinc in their diet. The requirement for this mineral is higher in men than women, given its association with their reproductive system. Foods high in zinc include whole grains, eggs, nuts, seeds and shellfish.
What women need in their 50s
This time in a women’s life represents the menopause. Food rich in phytoestrogens may help to reduce the symptoms of the menopause such as hot flushes, so this means including plenty of whole, unprocessed foods such as beans, pulses, lentils, nuts and seeds as well as soy foods including tofu and soy drinks. The menopause can also cause bone loss, so it’s essential to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods which aside from dairy includes nuts, green vegetables, dried fruits and pulses. Heart health risk increases to in the absence of oestrogen so focusing on foods such as salmon (rich in omega 3) and whole grains (rich in fibre to help maintain cholesterol levels) is a good option.
Foods to avoid in your 50s
Fifty and beyond is about securing your long-term health, and that means bones, joints, brain and heart health. Eating a diet rich in salt, sugar and saturated fat is only going to encourage bad health and especially so for the heart.
Foods to eat more in your 50s for both men and women
The risk of bowel cancer also increases with age, so fibre should be high on the list of foods men and women eat. High fibre foods include beans, pulses, lentils and whole grains, which have been shown to be particularly effective in reducing the risk of bowel cancer. In the UK only 9% of men meet the recommended guidance of 30 g of fibre per day (women is just 4%).
Absorption can be a key issue with age so you may want to consider thinking about clever food combinations to maximise your intake from foods. Good combinations are vitamin C (berries, red peppers, broccoli) with plant-based sources of iron (beans, pulses and lentils) as this helps to encourage absorption. Maintaining a healthy gut is also crucial as this is where food is assimilated, and nutrients delivered around the body. Gut bacteria also helps in the production of certain nutrients including vitamin D, K and the certain B vitamins, so it’s good to keep the diversity of bacteria in your gut in check. A daily probiotic supplement such as Healthspan Super20 Pro (£17.95) is an excellent way to add beneficial bacteria into your gut or as well as introducing sauerkraut or kefir into your daily diet.
Over 50’s should be focusing on following a Mediterranean style of eating which is mostly plant-based with lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and olive oil alongside small amounts of meat and fish. This type of diet has been shown to benefit heart, brain and joint health.
Foods to help increase your energy levels
In need of a pick-me-up? Some days, we just feel a little exhausted. You may just be lacking in energy because you have done too much, or it could be because you aren’t eating enough energy-filled foods to keep you going. In any case, if you suddenly start to feel really tired, it’s always best to seek advice from your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues.
Make sure you are getting enough fluids, if not, drink more water. It helps transport nutrients to your cells, and if you are lacking in water you will also be lacking in energy. Don’t reach for a strong coffee, instead, up your water intake. Another reason for feeling tied could be because you aren’t getting enough iron, so try and eat more iron rich foods like super healthy green vegetables. If you need energy before doing exercise, then go for foods that are low in GI for slow releasing energy like oats, sweet potatoes or basmati rice. Straight after exercise while your body is drained you will want to eat a mix of carbohydrates and protein. If you are simply in need of a natural energy boost, then here are some foods that can help increase your energy levels.
Oats can help to lower your cholesterol levels, contain antioxidants and they have an endless list of health benefits. They can also give you a much needed energy boost and are ideal for breakfast. Try oatcakes with natural peanut butter for a sustained energy boost, this works well as a healthy snack if you are feeling peckish.
There’s a reason why Popeye chooses spinach to make him big and strong. It’s a super food that’s packed full of magnesium, iron and potassium. Magnesium helps the body produce energy, so it can help you to feel a bit more energetic. If you aren’t crazy about spinach, throw a few leaves in your salad or mix it into a smoothie.
Sweet potatoes are a great alternative to white potatoes as they are low GI. They contain handy ingredients like magnesium, iron, potassium, vitamin D and vitamin C. So, if you are only eating white potatoes with your meals, consider swapping them for sweet potatoes every now and then.
If you are looking for a healthy snack, reach for some nuts instead of a chocolate bar or packet of crisps. You will get a lot more energy from nuts, which are also high in good fats. Choose raw, unsweetened and unsalted nuts such as cashews or almonds that haven’t been processed.
Did you know that one cup of mushrooms accounts for nearly half your daily intake of iron? Iron transports oxygen within the bloodstream, and if you aren’t having enough iron then you may stay to feel lethargic and tired. ‘In ancient Egypt mushrooms were reserved for royalty, and ancient Romans thought mushrooms conferred strength to warriors’ Lots of mushrooms also contain an antioxidant mineral called selenium and are rich in potassium, copper and niacin.
(Article source: Various)