Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus, or so the saying loosely goes. Not that we are trying to start a battle of the sexes here! However, there is some truth in that statement. Men and women are different and, as such, age differently. Factors such as dietary needs, lifestyle and genetics all play an essential role in the very different way that the male and female body responds to the aging process. Therefore, it makes sense that their vitamin, mineral and overall nutrient requirements will also differ from each other. Below, we have put together some nutritional tips to help you ‘guys and gals’ decipher healthy nutrition bespoke to you!
Table of Contents:
Nutrition Tips for Women Over 50
Women over 50 have a lot to deal with, starting with menopause which, although part of the aging process, can be very demanding on the body. As a result, many women struggle with vitamin and mineral deficiencies when the body’s nutritional needs increase. This can negatively impact weight control and bone health. However, good nutrition goes a long way towards alleviating the long-lasting effects of menopause and improving vitality inside and out no matter how old you get!
Boost your vitamin D and Calcium levels.
Foods rich in calcium are milk, cheese and yogurt. Non-dairy foods such as broccoli, legumes, kefir and canned salmon are also rich in calcium. Aim for three of servings per day. In addition, fortified foods and drinks such as orange juice will have added nutrients that are very beneficial – check the label says fortified when purchasing.
Increase your consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains are super antioxidants and help the body fight disease. Try and factor in at least one plant-based meal a week as they are low in calories and rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Lastly, don’t forget to select vegetables from each color band to ensure you receive a healthy balance of nutrients.
Red & Yellow
(Carotenoids) – high in vitamin C
Example: Peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges
(Chlorophyll) – rich in iron
Example: Spinach, peas, lima beans, broccoli
Blue & Purple
(Flavonoids) – rich in antioxidants
Example: Blueberries, eggplant
High in antioxidants, protein, fiber, B vitamins, potassium and iron
Example: Turnips, cauliflower, garlic, onion
Eat Enough Fiber
Fiber is essential for a healthy digestive system. Unfortunately, our digestive systems slow down as we age and become more susceptible to constipation, high cholesterol, and increased sugar levels. Good sources of fiber for women include popcorn, legumes, brown rice, oatmeal and whole-grain cereals and bread.
Ditch trans and saturated fats
Choose the fats you consume carefully and avoid trans and limited saturated fats. These types of fat are easily hidden in everyday foods like butter, processed foods, and desserts. Consuming large volumes of trans fats can increase cholesterol levels and put you at greater risk of heart disease. Instead, opt for healthy fats found in olive oil, canola, nuts, seeds, avocado, tuna and salmon.
Nutrition Tips for Men Over 50
Men over 50 generally have slower metabolisms than their younger 20-something counterparts. This means they need fewer calories to remain healthy. Specific foods are incredibly beneficial for older men when increasing nutrient intake and improving overall health.
Enhance your muscle mass
No, we don’t mean you should head to the gym and start pumping iron this very minute! Loss of muscle mass is significantly increased the older we get. By eating 3-5 portions of protein each day, the muscles are nourished, and muscle mass loss is reduced. Eating protein-rich foods such as fish, meat and eggs is very beneficial in preventing sarcopenia (skeletal muscle mass loss). This disease is a natural process of aging and can lead to frailty, increased falls and a loss of independence.
Reduce your cholesterol
Heart disease is more common in men than women. Therefore, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level is key to minimizing the risk in older men. Oats contain a soluble fiber called beta-glucan that can help reduce LDL cholesterols levels (bad cholesterol). Men should aim for 3g of beta-glucans daily to lower cholesterol levels. Oat based products include oats porridge, oat cereal bars or oatcakes.
Avoid prostate cancer/type 2 diabetes
If ever there was a better reason to eat sweet potatoes, this is it! Sweet potatoes are rich in carotenoids which can lower the risk of prostate cancer. Boom! Chuck out the usual baked spuds and welcome sweet potatoes into your life! Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene (carotenoid) and potassium which are excellent for promoting health in the older guy. They also have a super low glycemic index (GI) which prevents spikes in the blood sugar after eating and subsequently type 2 diabetes. So mash them, steam them, roast them or fry them, most importantly, eat them!
Reduce your calorie intake and boost antioxidant levels
While men might age differently from women and have different health issues to consider, the rules are still the same for a varied diet. You should aim to eat a varied diet filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains to enjoy a healthy lifestyle as you get older. Fresh fruit and vegetables have antioxidative properties and help to boost the body’s immunity. Check out the vegetable colors you should include in your diet in the section above. Select a variety from each color band to ensure your diet is balanced and nutrient rich.
A Final Helping Of Nutrition
Eating healthily doesn’t have to be boring or filled with complicated recipes. Simple meals made with fresh ingredients are a great way to get those creative juices flowing while optimizing your health. In addition, you will be able to maintain a healthy weight, remain energized and reduce your risk of age-related illness.
In the words of Ludwig Feuerbach, “you are what you eat.” So take a moment to consider what you put into the proverbial tank. What outcome do you require? A smooth, fuel-efficient, well-maintained vehicle (body), or one that sputters, runs rough and frequently breaks down? Nutrition is vitally important for your fitness. When you get the nutrients you need for your daily activities by consuming a well balance diet, you are doing yourself an immense favor!
Remember, it’s important to have some basic knowledge of choosing the right foods.