Nutrition tips have changed quite a bit in the past decades, but the standard advice stays the same: eat a well-balanced diet. So, what does this mean, exactly? Well, it typically means that you should eat high-fiber meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables, a moderate amount of lean meats and other proteins, and a small amount of healthy fat. It also means reducing or eliminating processed foods and sugars from the diet.
We can all agree that these are great dietary recommendations. There’s only one problem, though — the standard nutritional recommendations take a “one size fits all” approach. Therefore, it does not allow for the changing dietary needs of those over 50.
Age-Related Nutritional Changes
Perhaps one of the biggest nutritional mistakes people make is assuming their dietary needs remain the same throughout life, regardless of age. This belief is NOT true. In a review of literature, researchers noted:
Ageing is accompanied by major changes in body composition that can negatively affect functional status in older adults, including a progressive decrease in muscle mass, strength, and quality, accompanied by an increase in fat mass. (1)
Research suggests that by age 75, the percentage of body fat is often double what it was during early adulthood. (2) Too much body fat can increase your risk of multiple health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.
All of the physical changes that occur as we get older necessitate an adjustment in nutritional requirements. Indeed, those over 50 often need higher amounts of certain nutrients than younger people, and not making these changes can open the door to a variety of severe health problems.
Therefore, while it’s still crucial to eat a balanced diet throughout life, it’s also vital that you make adjustments for age-related nutritional needs that will support mental and physical health.
Nutrition Tips and Food Lists
Here are a few nutrition tips you need to know.
Eat a Variety of Nutrient-Dense Whole Foods.
Older people often need higher levels of some nutrients than younger people because age decreases their ability to absorb and utilize several nutrients. (3) Therefore, it’s crucial to increase your intake of healthy whole foods, such as nonstarchy vegetables, healthy whole-food fats, fish, and lean meats. Because these foods are nutrient-dense, filling, and relatively low in calories, they’ll provide needed nutrition while helping you stay within a healthy calorie range. (4)
These foods are also digested more slowly, leading to a gradual increase in blood sugar levels, which can help prevent weight gain, obesity, and diabetes. Fresh fruit is also a healthy food choice, but remember, even though fruit has fiber to slow digestion, it still contains sugar (fructose) that can negatively impact blood glucose levels. So, if you like fruit, please eat sparingly and choose low-fructose varieties.
Also, eat the fruit rather than drinking fruit juice, as the latter has no fiber to slow digestion. Consequently, it hits your bloodstream in minutes, causing unhealthy blood sugar spikes.
Healthy Fruits to Include in Diet
Low-sugar fruits include:
Healthy Fats to Include in Diet
In general, you should try to eat whole-food fats rather than just their oils as much as possible. This is because oils do not contain all the nutrients of their whole-food counterparts. But, of course, for cooking or salad dressings, you’ll need to use oils, preferably extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Never use vegetable oils, as they are heavily processed and can promote cancer.
Healthy whole-food fats include:
- Chia seeds
- Dark chocolate
- Fatty fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, etc.)
- Flax seeds
- Whole eggs
Of course, you should also reduce your intake of heavily processed foods, fast foods, sugary drinks, and foods with added sugar.
Eat More High-Quality Protein Foods.
A loss of muscle mass is, unfortunately, part of aging. Called sarcopenia, it is a significant cause of disability in older people. (5) After age 30, inactive persons can lose 3% to 8% of their muscle mass per decade. (6) Sarcopenia increases your risk of falls, fractures, and ultimately disability. (7)
Research shows that eating more protein may slow age-related muscle loss and increase muscle mass. (8) In addition, studies suggest that the best way to preserve and increase muscle mass is to combine a protein-rich diet and resistance exercise. (9)
To ensure an adequate protein intake, try to include one or two protein sources at every meal.
Great Nutrient-Dense Protein Sources
Some great high-nutrient protein sources include:
- Plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- Grass-fed beef
- Salmon filet
- Tuna fish
Eat Enough Fiber.
Getting enough dietary fiber is essential for everyone, especially those over 50.
A high-fiber diet not only regulates blood glucose levels but also helps lower cholesterol levels, aids weight control, lowers your risk of certain diseases, and reduces constipation. The latter is particularly applicable for those over 50. Research suggests that the prevalence of constipation increases with age.
The factors that increase constipation in older people include lack of mobility, medications, impaired anorectal sensations, and certain diseases. (10) Diet is also a significant factor, as one of the causes of constipation is insufficient fiber intake.
Research consistently shows that most people are not getting enough dietary fiber. How much fiber should be a part of healthy eating? Well, the dietary fiber requirements for those 51 and older are 28g of fiber for males and 22.4g for females, but that can vary widely according to individual needs. (11) Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and, as previously mentioned, also helps slow digestion, thus regulating appetite and blood glucose levels.
To obtain these health benefits, you must get at least the minimum recommended amount of fiber listed above. You can do this by eating healthy fiber, i.e., Non-processed, with each meal.
The Problem With Whole Grains
Since the first food pyramid was introduced in the 1990s, we’ve been told that whole grains are super important for our health. After all, whole grains took up the entire bottom (foundation) of the food pyramid, recommending that we eat a whopping 6-11 servings per day!
Unlike processed grains, whole grains were thought to be healthy for us, as they contain a large amount of fiber plus vitamins and minerals. However, whole grains do not slow digestion as much as you may think it does. You see, whole grains are typically made from pulverized grains (flour) instead of whole or cracked grains. Thus, they usually rank medium to high on the glycemic index ranking, meaning they digest relatively quickly and dramatically raise blood sugar levels. Therefore, it may not be a coincidence that the obesity epidemic went into overdrive with the publication of the USDA Food Pyramid.
Multiple researchers have also mentioned that whole grains are bad for health because they contain the “toxic anti-nutrients, lectins, gluten, and phytates.” (12) (Phylates can slow the absorption of several crucial minerals, including iron and calcium.) As the human digestive system is not designed to handle grain foods, many people are lectin- or gluten-sensitive.
What Type of Fiber Should I Eat?
Don’t panic, though. There are plenty of fiber foods that do not include whole grains, such as e nonstarchy vegetables, nuts/seeds, and to a lesser extent, beans.
Great Dietary Fiber Choices
Great fiber choices include:
- Green beans
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chia seeds
- Flax seeds
- Navy Beans
- Pinto beans
- Red kidney beans
Try to eat a variety of different colored vegetables for the best health benefits.
Eat Omega-3 Foods for Brain Health
Numerous studies suggest that cognitive function declines with age. One study published in 2012, for example, found that those aged 45 to 49 experienced a 3.6% decline in cognitive function over a decade. (13)
Increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids could help reverse cognitive decline and protect the brain. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid, is a significant constituent of neuronal membranes and has been shown to benefit brain function. Therefore, adequate DHA levels are essential for proper brain function.
But does dietary intake of omega-3 fatty acid levels affect their levels in the body and thus improve brain function? The answer appears to be “yes.” One randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled clinical research study, for instance, showed that those given omega-3 fatty acid supplements for 90-days showed improvement in “immediate memory and attention.” (14) In addition, Alzheimer’s patients have been shown to have a lower brain and neuronal DHA levels than those without this disease. However, research suggests that supplemental omega-3 fatty acids may increase these levels and protect against Alzheimer’s disease. (15)
By the way, omega-3 fatty acids don’t just benefit the brain. Research suggests omega-3s may also support the immune system, defend against heart disease, help reduce blood pressure, and so much more.
Best Omega-3 Foods
Here are a few of the best omega-3 foods for health:
- Albacore tuna
- Chia seeds
- Cod liver oil
- Egg yolks
Take a Daily 7-Keto DHEA Supplement for Weight Control.
Being overweight or obese is a significant underlying cause of multiple diseases. Unfortunately, many of us gain weight as we age. There’s a reason for that.
Research shows that the resting metabolic rate declines with age, leading to the steady weight gain many people experience as they pass the age of 30. So, if you eat the same number of calories you’ve always eaten, you’ll steadily gain weight as your RMR declines.
Resting metabolic rate, or RMR, is the number of calories your body burns while entirely at rest. It provides the energy your body needs to survive. Your heart, brain, breathing, blood circulation – all these need energy and burn calories, which comes from your RMR. The RMR comprises an estimated 70% of your body’s daily energy expenditure. (16) The remainder comes from physical activity and body heat generation.
With RMR comprising most calories burned, it’s easy to see that even a slight decrease in RMR can cause weight gain. This makes it challenging to get the nutrients you need, as you could gain weight even on a healthy whole-foods diet.
It’s crucial, therefore, to raise your RMR. One way you can do that is to take a daily 7-Keto DHEA supplement like that in Luminae™.
Scientific Evidence that Luminae™ Can Help You Lose Weight
Research shows that blood levels of 7-Keto start slowly decreasing around the age of 30—and by the time you’re 50, these levels have fallen by about 50%!!! But clinical research studies have found that 7-Keto supplementation can increase these levels and raise RMR in general, even restoring RMR to pre-dieting levels in as little as 7 Days!
This has been proven in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study – the “Gold Standard” in science.
For this study, (17) researchers recruited a group of overweight volunteers and put them on a calorie-restricted diet known to reduce RMR. Then they gave them 7-Keto during one phase of the study and placebo during another phase.
During the placebo phase, the volunteers’ RMR fell 3.9%. But during the 7-Keto phase, their RMR increased by 3.9%, effectively reversing the diet-induced drop in resting metabolic rate. But then it increases RMR by another 1.4% above the baseline level. All in just seven days.
These results mean those volunteers increased calorie burn by 5.3%, which equates to an extra 96 calories or so burned per day with no increase in exercise!!!
And that’s not the only study that shows an increase in RMR.
In another study, (18) researchers divided 30 middle-aged, overweight adults, into two groups and put them both on the same calorie-restricted diet and exercise program. Then, they gave one group 100 mg of 7-Keto twice daily and gave the other half placebo.
The 7-Keto group lost significantly more weight than the placebo group due partly to its beneficial effect on the thyroid.
It’s important to note that the only clinical studies conducted on the weight loss benefits of 7-Keto DHEA involved subjects on a reduced-calorie diet combined with moderate exercise. This suggests that if you want to reap weight-control benefits, you should eat a balanced whole-food diet, get regular exercise, and take Luminae™ with 7-Keto DHEA every morning.