Older adults have different goals at different ages and stages in life, naturally resulting in different steps and diet choices to reach those goals.
Strengthen Bones with Calcium
As age increases, so does the possibility of certain health complications, such as osteoporosis, which causes bones to become fragile and susceptible to fractures. Because bones are a form of tissue whose cells must be regularly replenished to maintain integrity, making dietary changes to aid the body in keeping pace with the rate of cell replacement is essential. Calcium plays a large part in this.
The average older adult actively loses bone mass due to a negative calcium balance. Women are particularly at risk for developing osteoporosis, with one in three women over 50 in danger of bone breaks. Although forms of dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.) are well-known forms of calcium, many others, including seeds, canned salmon, beans and lentils, almonds and leafy greens, can supplement your calcium intake.
Maintain Muscle Mass with Protein
The fancy medical term for losing muscle mass with age is sarcopenia. This process is normal as we age. After 30, doctors estimate that people begin losing 3-5% of muscle mass every 10 years. This decreased muscle mass increases the risk of falls and injuries and diminishes mobility.
Thankfully, our bodies can rebuild muscle mass. One simple way to achieve this is by eating more high-protein foods such as eggs, nuts and seeds, soy foods, quinoa and salmon. The amount of protein one should add to their diet depends on weight. For women over 50, add 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds).
Protect Brain Function with Vitamin B-12
As with muscle mass and bone integrity, brain function suffers with age. Parts of the brain begin to shrink, fewer synaptic connections form, myelin loss occurs and the brain creates fewer neurotransmitters. These changes can contribute to slower processing, reduced cognitive function and decreased dopamine and serotonin.
Vitamin B-12, which helps preserve healthy red blood cells and the brain, is a diet-essential nutrient for maintaining brain function and slowing this decline. Most women over 50 are advised to consume 2.4 micrograms of protein a day, found in eggs, milk, lean meats, fish, cereals and grains.
A Parting Reminder
Aging is an inevitable part of life. With aging comes a whole host of new challenges, obstacles and difficulties, such as weakening bones, loss of muscle mass and brain function decline. However, what is not inevitable is the rate at which these difficulties develop.
By talking to a doctor, conducting some research and making wise diet choices, such as implementing calcium, protein and vitamin B-12, you can stay strong and sharp long after the age of 50!