The 50s is the time to manage “change” in the body. The natural slow down of the body functions impacts health in many ways, such as:
- decline in the body’s immunity functions
- increased risk of heart diseases
- increased risk of arthritis
- gradual decline of episodic memory, increasing risk of Alzheimer’s disease
- menopause and increased risk of breast cancer for women
Diet to Boost Immunity
When the human body ages to 50, the immunity functions begin to decline due to the shrinking of the thymus gland that regulates T cells. A good real age diet plan can, however, boost immunity and retain the body’s earlier immunity levels.
The major nutrients and minerals that boost immunity are zinc, iron, beta-carotene, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D, and vitamin E. The top immunity boosting foods containing these nutrients and minerals, and suitable for the age group diet for 50s are:
- Green tea has the antioxidant EGCG that reduces the risk of most types of cancer and inhibits the growth of bad bacteria in the intestine.
- Chilies are rich in beta-carotene that turns into vitamin A in the blood and fights infections
- Garlic increases the potency of T-lymphocytes and macrophages, two important cells in the immune system
- Sweet potatoes contain glutathione, an antioxidant that protects against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, heart attack and diabetes
- Oysters have a very high zinc content
- Figs help maintain proper pH levels in the body, and make it more difficult for pathogens to invade.
- Mushrooms increase cellular metabolism by boosting the production of white blood cells, and prevent damage from free radicals
- Yogurt replenishes good bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, and protects against constipation, inflammatory disease, and colon cancer
The ability of the body to absorb nutrients from such food sources, however, decreases with age. The 50s may be the time to start taking multivitamin supplements on a regular basis, especially if one follows or had a lifestyle that involved excessive drinking, cigarette smoking, and other self-destructive activities.
Diet to Counter Risk of Heart Diseases
The human body is more at risk of heart disease during the 50s due to a variety of reasons such as a normal weakening of body muscles, increase in body weight due to obesity or menopause, and other reasons. Adopting a real age diet for 50s entails consumption of the following foods that reduce the risk of heart diseases:
- Vegetables such as dark lettuce, fenugreek greens, and spinach
- Fruits containing antioxidants that fight free radicals which cause cell damage in the heart
- Fish such as tuna and salmon which contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids to fight plaque that clogs arteries and heart, potentially causing heart attack.
- Lean turkey contains tryptophan that lowers the stress hormones, and has a beneficial effect on the heart
- Flavoring dishes with chilies reduces the risk of heart disease, for chilies are natural blood thinners that prevent clogging of the arteries.
- Orange juice is rich in vitamin C and has a large number of antioxidants.
- Skimmed milk is low in fat, and high in water, and ensures a proper fluid balance to prevent strain on the heart.
Diet to Counter Arthritis
The Dong diet, introduced by Dr. Collin Dong in 1975, attempts to cure arthritis by eliminating all fruits, red meat, alcohol, dairy products, herbs, and all foods containing additives or preservatives from the diet.
The nightshade elimination diet recommends elimination of over 1700 plants of the Solanaceae family, including various herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant based on the belief that joint pains increase after eating vegetables belonging to the nightshade family.
There is no clinical evidence to verify the effectiveness of the Dong Diet or the nightshade elimination diet. Research has, however, established that a diet plan aimed towards weight loss, and featuring healthy nutritional balance and healthy eating patterns, supports the treatment for arthritis.
Diet to Boost Memory and Reduce Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Anthocyanin and quercetin are two memory-boosting phytochemicals in the human body. The production of these two phytochemicals faces a decline during the 50s leading to loss of episodic memory and increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods that feature these phytochemicals in the age group diet for 50s to boost memory include:
- Blueberries, cherries and eggplant contain anthocyanin
- Apples and broccoli contain quercetin
- Red onions and grapes contain both anthocyanin and quercetin
- Spinach, which has high folic acid, protects against Alzheimer’s disease and reverses memory loss
Diet to Counter After-effects of Menopause
Most females encounter menopause in their 50s. Menopause affects just about every system in the body, causes hot flashes, night sweats, and raises the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.
While menopause is inevitable, a good real age diet plan alleviates the physical and mental symptoms of menopausal life. The recommended post menopause diet plan includes:
- Potassium rich fruits such as melons, bananas, oranges, and lemons
- Dried fruits such as apricots and figs to help balance sodium and water retention
- Dark leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, cabbage, or yams
- Soy foods such as soybeans, calcium-fortified soy milk, soy yogurt, and tofu
- Oily fish such as salmon and mackerel rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and cod liver oil
- Wholegrain bread, oats, rye, and wheat germ
The age group diet for 50s for women should also include magnesium, and calcium to alleviate osteoporosis, wrinkled skin, brittle nails, and the like.
About 75 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women aged 50 or older. Limiting alcohol to less than one drink a day, fat intake to less than 35 percent of daily calories, and restricting foods high in saturated fat reduces the risk of breast cancer.
A sample daily menu real age diet for the 50s reads oat bran and banana for breakfast, a mid morning snack of egg with 1/4 cup mozzarella and cinnamon raisin bread slice, a lunch of salad and chicken with slice of whole wheat bread and 1/2 grapefruit, with dark leafy vegetables and salmon for dinner.
Following the recommended age group diet plan for the 50s helps alleviate the harmful effects of aging.
- Laiberte, Richard et al. (April 2009) The Best Health For Your Age. Prevention Magazine.
- Collins,Anne. Best Diet For Menopause.
- Diet.com, Arthritis Diet.
- John, McGrain (2008). Diet Solutions in 50s
- HealthDiaries.com, 10 Foods That Boost Memory
- Kanko, flickr.com, https://www.flickr.com/photos/kankan/73658819/
- Rexipe, flickr.com