Food and your fifties

Posted on: 14 June 2019 by Rob Hobson

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 explains Rob Hobson.

older man nutrition

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.

older woman nutrition

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.

high fibre diet

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 30g 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.

 

Detox Kitchen Bible

About the author

Rob Hobson is a registered nutritionist and Healthspan's head of nutrition. His new book ‘The Detox Kitchen Bible’ is available on Amazon or visit robhobson.co.uk for more recipe ideas.

 

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