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Nutrition after 50
Idea of Healthy Aging
• Healthy aging is also defined as living a longer, healthier
• And many studies have documented the link between a
healthy diet and prevention of age-related or chronic
• Adopting a healthy lifestyle that includes regular physical
activity, adequate rest, avoiding tobacco, and a diet full
of healthy foods and beverages can be the best defense
against aging.
• Energy requirements decrease with age due to a loss in
lean body mass and a decrease in physical activity.
• After age 50, energy needs decrease about 5% per
Antioxidants and Phytochemicals
• The theory is that antioxidants and other agedefying compounds help cells ward off damage
from free radicals and minimize the impact of
• Phytochemicals, which are members of the
antioxidant family, gobble up "free radicals" -oxygen molecules that play a role in the onset of
illnesses such as heart disease, cancer,
osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease.
• Remember the brightly colored fruits and
Healthy Foods to Add to the Diet
Fish. Follow the guidelines of the American Heart Association and eat twice
weekly, especially the fatty kind that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This is a
powerful anti-inflammatory food that offers a multitude of health benefits.
Fruits and vegetables are powerhouses of antioxidants. Aim for a variety
of colorful produce. Enjoy at least 5 servings per day for the maximum
Whole grains provide soluble fiber to help lower blood cholesterol levels,
and also have phytochemical content equal to any fruit or vegetable. Strive
for at least 3 daily servings.
Legumes are unsung heroes, packed with nutrients similar to fruits and
vegetables and with very few calories. Add them to your diet 3 to 4 times a
Yogurt has all the benefits of dairy foods, plus probiotics that help add
healthy bacteria to the intestines.
Nuts are a great source of B vitamins that are good for your heart and your
brain. The healthy fats in nuts benefit the elastin and collagen in skin,
helping to maintaining skin's structure and keep it resilient. Small portions
are advised, as nuts are high in calories.
Water is essential for hydration of the skin, muscles, circulation, and all
organs in the body. Enjoy 3-4 glasses of pure water in addition to other
liquids and watery foods.
Tips to Healthy Eating
• In fact, experts estimate that simply eating
at least five servings of vegetables and
fruits each day could decrease overall
cancer rates by 20 percent.
• Work toward filling at least two-thirds of
your plate with vegetables, fruits, whole
grains and beans and one-third or less
with fish, poultry or lean meat
Salmon Pecan Patties
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 serving "fatty fish with 1 tsp oil" + 1
serving "low-fat crackers" or 1 slice of "bread."
14.75-ounce can salmon (or 1 1/2 cups cooked salmon pieces, firmly packed)
1 teaspoon olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2/3 cup cracker crumbs (to make these, add whatever crackers you like -- maybe
wheat crackers, or even rosemary garlic crackers -- to a small food processor and
pulse until fine crumbs form)
1 large egg (higher omega-3 variety if available), beaten
2 tablespoons egg substitute
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 1/2 tablespoon parsley flakes)
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 cup toasted pecan pieces (toast by heating in nonstick frying pan over medium
heat until lightly brown -- about 2 minutes)
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
Drain salmon, picking out any pieces of bones or skin, and flake what is left. Add the
salmon flakes to a large mixing bowl.
Add 1 teaspoon oil to a small nonstick frying pan and heat over medium-high heat. Add
onion and cook, turning often, until golden and tender.
Add onions to the salmon in mixing bowl, along with half of the cracker crumbs (1/3 cup),
beaten egg, egg substitute, parsley, and mustard and beat on low speed to blend. Add
pecan pieces and briefly beat on low speed until mixed in.
Shape the mixture into 6 patties (about 1/2-inch thick). Press both sides of each patty into
the remaining cracker crumbs to lightly coat.
Begin to heat a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil and
spread evenly in the pan. Cook the patties until nicely browned on both sides.
Nutritional Facts for Salmon Pecan
• Yield: 3 servings (2 patties each)
• Per serving:
– 369 calories, 26 g protein, 25 g carbohydrate,
18 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat, 9.5 g
monounsaturated fat, 5.7 g polyunsaturated
fat), 120 mg cholesterol, 2.5 g fiber, 274 mg
sodium. Calories from fat: 44%.
Vitamins and Minerals in Need
• Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help prevent
osteoporosis, the leading cause of bone fractures in older adults.
The B vitamins folate, B6 and B12 may help reduce the risk of heart
disease and stroke
• Have three servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat/fat-free milk,
yogurt, or cheese every day. Milk products are high in calcium and
vitamin D and help keep your bones strong as you age. If you have
trouble digesting or do not like milk products, try reduced-lactose
milk products, or soy-based beverages, or tofu. You can also talk to
your health care provider about taking a calcium and vitamin D
• Choose foods fortified with vitamin B12. Many adults over the age of
50 have difficulty absorbing adequate amounts of this vitamin.
Therefore, they should get this nutrient through fortified foods, such
as breakfast cereals, or from a dietary supplement. Talk with your
health care provider to ensure that you are consuming enough
vitamin B12.
• The need for calcium goes up from 1000
milligrams in pre-menopausal women to 1200
milligrams after menopause.
• At age 50, the recommended amount of vitamin
D goes up from 200 to 400 IUs. Then at age 70,
it goes up from 400 to 600.
• Calcium calculator:
• “Our nutritional needs change as we age. Many
of us don't eat as well, plus certain vitamins and
nutrients can be more easily depleted from our
bodies as we age. These include vitamin B12
(our ability to absorb it from foods can be
reduced with aging); calcium (our needs go up
as we get older); vitamin D (our skin doesn't
absorb it as well when we are older); and
vitamin B6 (which may be needed to keep red
blood cells healthy and strong).”
Other necessities in the diet
• Fiber: A varied diet of whole grains, such as 100 percent whole-wheat
bread, whole-grain muffins and brown rice can help you reach your goal
of 20 to 35 grams of fiber daily. Other options are cooked lentils,
chickpeas and beans. Select a piece of fruit, rather than fruit juice for
added fiber. Fiber can help lower your cholesterol and blood sugar and
aid in the battle against certain cancers.
• Water: Although it's something we all take for granted, water is
especially important for seniors. Elderly people tend to lose their
sensation of thirst as they get older and consequently can easily
become dehydrated. From regulating your body temperature to carrying
out waste products, water is essential to your well-being. On a given
day, seniors lose an average of 10 cups of fluid, which needs to be
replaced. Alcohol, tea or coffee should not be included when calculating
fluid intake, because of their diuretic effect.
• Protein: For older adults, protein needs increase by about 25 percent.
An ounce of lean meat, fish or poultry provides about seven grams of
protein, whereas a serving of milk or yogurt contains about eight grams.
Peanut butter and eggs are other excellent sources. Protein is also
found in grains and vegetables, which means a well-balanced diet will
usually meet your protein needs.
Importance of Sleep
• Need seven to nine hours a night .
• Though studies show most sleep problems are not related to aging,
sometimes medical or emotional conditions linked to getting older
can interfere with sleep. Indeed, the National Sleep Foundation
reports older adults with four or more health problems are 80% likely
to report sleep problems, compared with 53% who report better
• In addition, aging also affects our sleep-wake pattern, causing us to
feel sleepy earlier in the evening and wake earlier in the morning –
even if we were typically a "night person" before.
• Getting enough sleep is particularly important after 50 since a lack
can increase the risk of memory problems and depression, as well
as nighttime falls.
Importance of Exercise after 50
• The group says the number of health club
members over 55 grew by 343% from 1987 to
2003, while the number of members in the 35-54
age group increased by 180%
• "No matter what area you look to, be it heart
disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure,
osteoporosis, research shows that being
physically fit into your senior years will keep you
healthier and active longer," says Cedric Bryant,
PhD, chief exercise physiologist at the American
Council on Exercise.
• Key is: The more you can do, the better!
• Beginning in our forties, we lose 3 to 5% of our muscles
mass per decade.
• After age 50, we lose 1 to 2% of our muscle per year.
• Framingham study showed that 40% of the female
population ages 55 to 64, 45% of women ages 65 to 74,
and 65% of women ages 75 to 84 were unable to lift 4.5
kg (about a 10lb bag of flour).
• The decreased muscle mass seen in aging is also
associated with decreases in bone density which can
lead to osteoporosis, insulin sensitivity leading to
diabetes, and decreased aerobic capacity, leading to
cardiovascular disease.
What are the benefits of being
physically active?
• On a daily basis, being physically active
improves your quality of life by improving your:
– Energy level.
– Mental sharpness.
– Mood (regular aerobic exercise can help manage
depression, anxiety, and stress).
– Balance, strength, and flexibility, which are key to
preventing injuries and falls.
– Odds against chronic illness. Physical activity also
often helps manage chronic illness with fewer
Try these activities to add more
movement to your daily life:
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Make sure the
stairs are well lit.
• Get off the bus one stop early if you are in an area safe
for walking.
• Park the car farther away from entrances to stores,
movie theaters, or your home.
• Take a short walk around the block with family, friends,
or coworkers.
• In bad weather, walk around a mall.
• Rake the leaves or wash the car.
• Visit museums, the zoo, or an aquarium. You and your
family can walk for hours and not realize it.
• Take a walk after dinner instead of watching TV.
• For a well-rounded workout plan, combine aerobic
activity, muscle-strengthening exercises, and stretching.
Do at least 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity
physical activity on most or all days of the week.
• Add muscle-strengthening activities two to three times a
• To reduce the risk of injury, do a slow aerobic warm-up,
then stretch before aerobic or strengthening activities.
• Follow your workout with a few more minutes of
• Stretching can reduce risk of injury.
Ways to Introduce more Exercise
• Start with small, short-term goals. For example,
make a plan to walk for 10 minutes a day, 3 days
a week, for 2 weeks.
• Start up with a friend. It leaves no room for an
excuse because you hold each other
• Make physical fitness a habit and schedule into
your day. Have a designated time for exercise.
Fettuccine with Green and Yellow
8 oz. fettuccine or other favorite pasta
4 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 small onion, sliced (about 1 cup)
1 small summer squash, thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
3⁄4 cup frozen peas
1⁄4 cup fat-free, reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 oz. jar chopped pimento, drained
2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese, or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• Cook pasta according to package directions. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2
teaspoons oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add squash,
zucchini and garlic; cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add peas; cook, stirring, 1 minute or
until peas are thawed and vegetables are tender. Drain pasta and add to skillet.
Toss with broth, remaining oil, vegetables and pimento. Season with Parmesan
cheese and black pepper.
• Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 298 calories, 7 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 50 g
carbohydrates, 11 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 118 mg sodium.
Pear Crisp
Nonstick cooking spray
1⁄4 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. walnuts
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. whole wheat flour
2 1⁄2 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
1⁄8 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. canola oil,plus 2 tsp.
6 firm, yet ripe pears, peeled (if desired), cored and cubed
1⁄4 cup raisins
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1⁄8 tsp. nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
Caramel pecan or vanilla nonfat frozen yogurt or lowfat ice cream (optional)
• Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 8- or 9-inch round cake pan. In food
processor, pulse oats and walnuts 15 seconds. Add flours, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Blend 15 more seconds. While running, drizzle oil and blend 30 seconds. Transfer to
bowl and mix thoroughly.
• In another bowl, toss pears with next 6 ingredients. Spoon pears into prepared cake
pan. Cover with oat mixture, pressing down gently. Bake 45-50 minutes, until topping is
brown and pears are bubbling. Serve hot, topped with nonfat frozen yogurt or lowfat ice
cream, if desired.
• Makes 9 servings. Per serving: 164 calories, 4 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 34 g
carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 3 mg sodium.