Nutritional needs change over time and around the age of 50, your body needs more of certain nutrients to promote good health. Muscles can deteriorate and bones get weaker with age but with good dietary choices, the body can be nourished in a way that helps build muscle and strengthen bones. Paying attention to muscle and bone health is a good way to create a secure physical foundation.
Protein is Good for Muscles
Muscles support the bones and movement of the body but unfortunately are subject to decline as we age. Deterioration of muscles can start as early as your 30s when you begin to lose 3-5% of your skeletal muscle each decade. Muscle loss, a disease called sarcopenia, affects the balance, gait, and movement of up to 50% of people over the age of 70. Eating foods rich in protein can be an easy way stave off muscle loss. Adults over the age of 50 should be eating 25–30 grams of protein at each meal to feed the body’s muscles. Proteins like lean meat, fish and beans are great ways to add protein to your diet. Meals should also include an array of vegetables with an emphasis on green and leafy varieties which tend to be higher in protein. Protein is the foundation of healthy muscles and provides the body with energy to stay active and further aid in combatting muscle loss.
Calcium and Vitamin D for Bone Health
Besides changes in the body’s muscle mass, bones are also affected by aging. As we age, bones become fragile and brittle leading to osteoporosis. Calcium continues to be important in the adult diet as the number of years ticks up. It is important to maintain sufficient calcium consumption so that already aging bones are not subject to further depletion of calcium. This happens when the body takes the calcium it needs by reabsorbing it from the bones causing them to become brittle. Vitamin D helps the bones absorb calcium. Eat at least three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy fortified with Vitamin D each day. If dairy does not fit into your diet, eat items with added calcium like cereal and orange juice or take a vitamin D supplement.
As the body ages, the recommended nutritional requirements do not vary much but some changes in the body warrant special attention. Eating foods rich in protein and calcium help to maintain strong muscles and bones. These dietary changes, over time, will add up to a stronger body and help you remain active and healthy into your golden years.
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