Fifty-something? Here’s What You Need to Know About Nutrition
Our nutritional needs change throughout our life, as our bodies, health and lifestyles change. It makes sense that a baby’s nutritional needs are different to that of a teenager’s (despite both sharing a preference for sleeping all day and being up all night). Similarly, once you hit the 50 milestone, your body’s nutritional needs can take on a new focus.
Here are a few tips on nutrition for 50 plus, to ensure you’re giving your body the nutrients it needs to keep living life to the full.
Our bodies need protein to maintain muscle mass. Although this need decreases with age due to the loss of muscle, it’s still important to maintain mass for balance, strength, independence and to prevent frailty. Men typically need more protein than women, as they naturally have a higher muscle mass and therefore need to consume a higher amount of protein to maintain this. Sources include meat, fish, poultry, eggs, soybeans and nuts.
Carbohydrate and grain requirements decrease as we get older. Carbohydrates are our main source of dietary energy and – typically - people are less active as they get older, so require less energy to support this (unless you’re over 50 and a seasoned marathon runner, in which case, keep it up!). It’s important to ensure that the carbohydrates you are eating are high in fibre to avoid constipation, which tends to affect us more the older we get. Choose wholemeal bread, pasta, brown rice and other unrefined carbohydrates where possible.
Vegetables, legumes and beans
Nutrition before 50 has a stronger focus on chronic disease prevention, whereas as you get older, other elements begin to take priority, such as protein intake and ensuring you’re eating enough kilojoules overall. However, it is still important to consume enough vegetables for the variety of minerals and vitamins they contain, so continue to strive for your five serves a day.
Continue to enjoy fruit as you get older – it’s a great healthy alternative to desserts and can be easily incorporated into snacks and after-dinner treats. Grapeseed and cranberry are great for skin health, and bilberry has been linked to eye health in emerging evidence. The nutritional powerhouse that is the orange is known for its vitamin C content, however few know of the protective qualities of citrus bioflavonoids, which pack an antioxidant punch and have been linked to heart health.
Dairy and dairy alternatives
Women have higher dairy requirements than men because they are at an increased risk of osteoporosis, especially after menopause. Estrogen protects the body against osteoporosis so, when estrogen levels lower after menopause, it’s important to consume more calcium as a preventative measure. More broadly, the lecithin in soy has been linked to better liver health and healthy metabolism of dietary fat. Aim for at least three serves of calcium-rich foods per day - the best sources are low fat milk or milk alternatives fortified with calcium, and low-fat cheese or yoghurt.
To help meet nutritional needs and support general wellbeing, it can be beneficial to take a multivitamin daily when dietary intake is inadequate, especially one tailored for your life stage. Swisse Men’s Ultivite 50+ and Swisse Women’s Ultivite 50+ are premium quality formulas containing over 40 vitamins, minerals, herbs and antioxidants, specifically designed for the 50 plus life stage.
Containing ingredients that support energy production, mental performance and immune function , the Ultivites also include tailored ingredients, such as zinc and saw palmetto for men, and black cohosh and grapeseed in our women’s formulation. A number of these ingredients can be challenging to take through diet alone. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about which supplements are right for you.
Disclaimer: This information is for the general public only, please seek advice from a doctor or dietitian if you have a medical condition.
This supplement may not be right for you. Read the warnings before purchase. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.