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Botsford HealthSource Magazine
Healthy Eating After Age 50
No matter what your age, a healthy diet plays a crucial role in preventing chronic conditions, maintaining mental awareness and strengthening immunity. “Unfortunately, as the years go by, health challenges that affect appetite, changes in metabolism, and lifestyle can get in the way of healthy meal preparation and the consistent consumption of nutrient-rich foods,” says Amish Shah, D.O., M.P.H., Botsford Hospital’s first fellow in its new training program in geriatrics.
Dr. Shah offers these suggestions to help make your diet healthier.
Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian to review your diet. Seek specific recommendations if you have a chronic condition, such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes.
Avoid foods and drinks that provide empty calories. For example, cookies, chips, sodas and alcohol have a lot of calories but very few nutrients.
Keep your fluids up. Try to drink two liters of water a day, which can help keep your mind clear and relieve constipation.
Eat high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, with every meal. That can help keep you regular and lower your cholesterol.
Focus on lean proteins. Fish, poultry, beans and tofu are lower in fat than red meat. That makes them a better choice for most meals.
Eat plenty of foods rich in calcium and vitamin D to keep your bones Healthy eating After Age 50 strong. Calcium-rich foods include milk and yogurt, fortified cereals and dark green leafy vegetables. If you can’t get enough calcium and vitamin D from your diet, ask your doctor if you need a supplement.
Look at the food guide pyramid for older adults. (Visit www.nutrition.tufts.edu and search for “modified mypyramid.”) This visual representation of a healthy diet for older adults is modeled after the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPyramid. Making the effort to eat a healthy diet can improve your quality of life. Dr. Shah says, “It’s well worth your effort.”