Each and every stage of life comes with different gifts and challenges - and who doesn't want to stay trim, youthful looking and energized with a well-functioning cardiovascular system as we enter the ‘fabulous’ fifties?
Our bodies need different forms of nutritional support as we age - and that’s easy to understand, because each phase of life brings its own physiological and metabolic changes.
For instance, our heart health naturally declines with age.
Women experience the onset of menopause in their fifties, which also brings with it many hormonal and metabolic changes.
Overall, metabolism slows and belly fat starts to accumulate along with a decrease in muscle mass. This is why appropriate food intake becomes more critical during the fifties than ever before, with an emphasis on nutrient dense food and ingredient choices.
Here are five simple tips to help you stay healthy and fit during your ‘fabulous’ fifties -
- Integrate monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) into your diet - these essential fats help moderate hormones, appetite, insulin response and vitamin absorption, all of which are vital, especially for women during menopause. Increasing MUFA consumption can also lower cholesterol levels - which is why nuts, olive oil, avocado and tahini are both nutritious and heart healthy options.
- Stay hydrated - this is very important at every age, since water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system in your body depends on water. With age, we lose our ability to conserve water. Also, some medications can cause dehydration. Don't wait for your body to tell you it's thirsty, because it may be too late!
- Avoid ‘processed’ foods - instead, opt for a high-fiber, moderate protein, low-carb and low-sodium diet based on natural foods. High salt intake can spike blood pressure (BP), leading to hypertension which puts the heart at risk. Processed foods are traditionally loaded with higher sodium and unhealthy oils.
- Just say no - your 50s is a great time to give up on overuse of alcohol and smoking. Both place a heavy toll on the cardiovascular system, along with prematurely aging and damaging the liver, lung and other organs. Smoking also adversely affects elasticity and collagen production in the skin, contributing to a less youthful appearance.
- Monitor your cardio history - regularly assess your heart health and your risk for cardiovascular disease through periodic testing that includes detailed cholesterol information and BP readings.