What to eat after 50: A complete guide to healthy eating for ‘seenagers’

Wondering what to eat after 50? Well, if you or your loved ones are in that age group, here are 5 foods for seniors to stay healthy and fit.

foods for seniors
Healthy diet is all about incorporating more fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods into your diet. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Bhavani Swaminathan Published on: 13 August 2022, 10:15 am IST
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Wondering who a ‘seenager’ is? Well, it translates to ‘senior teenagers’, a term which has come to be used for senior citizens who exhibit the enthusiasm and zest for life just like teenagers! And the right energy is just what they need to get going. So, naturally, their diet plays a crucial role in it. Come let us tell you a little about what to eat after 50!

Due to the pandemic and prolonged stays at home, a collective consciousness towards staying fit and eating clean is in vogue today. This is reshaping opinions around what comprises a good diet for specific age groups and also giving way to age old practices like foraging and kitchen gardening a new lease of life.

Especially after the age of 50, you need to pay more attention to what you eat. Your intake might be low in calcium, potassium, dietary fibre, and vitamin D. Deficiencies of these nutrients and food components have led them to be classified as nutrients of public health concern. Low intake can result in a host of physical ailments, including muscle cramps (calcium), heart palpitations (potassium), fatigue (fibre) and bone pain (vitamin D). If that sounds downright alarming, don’t panic; there is an abundance of foods that can help ensure you meet your daily nutrient needs. But first, let us revisit why you need these essentials in the first place.

Importance of following a healthy and nutritious diet

Calcium and vitamin D are known for their role in bone health, but both are important for muscle contraction and nerve communication throughout the body. Vitamin D has also been shown to be pivotal in immune health. Potassium, an electrolyte, is essential for muscle contraction and nerve transmission, but its major role is to keep your heart and kidneys functioning at their prime. Dietary fibre might not be classified as a vitamin or mineral, but it has a plethora of attributes that qualify it as an important nutrient food component. A high fibre diet not only has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, it also contributes to keeping you regular and may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. And since fibre helps you stay full for longer, you may have less desire to munch mindlessly between meals.

foods for seniors
Keep a check on your mother’s diet. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

What to eat after 50:

The easiest way to spot a deficiency in dietary fibre is to have difficulty pooping. Signs of deficiency in calcium, potassium, and vitamin D are not easy to self diagnose. Feeling fatigued and weak may be a sign of a deficiency of all these three nutrients. Dry skin may indicate calcium deficiency.

The following foods may be included in your diet on a regular basis to supply sufficient amounts of nutrients to the body.

1. Apple: The common saying is “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Why is that so? Well, apples relax nerves. They contain vitamin B12, phosphorus, and potassium, which help in the synthesis of glutamic acid, which controls the wear and tear of nerve cells. When combined with honey, it recharges the nerves as this is a tonic for the nerves.

2. Banana: Regular consumption of banana relaxes the muscle and you get good sleep. They are rich in tryptophan, an amino acid that boosts the formation of happy and sleep hormones.

foods for seniors
Bananas are healthy! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Nuts and seeds: They are rich in vitamin E, zinc, and magnesium, which regulate the mood and relieve stress. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that destroys free radicals.

4. Raw honey: It is regarded as a mood elevator. Honey contains levulose, dextrose and other natural sugars to give instant energy and make you active. However, honey may not be suitable for diabetics and individuals with gut health related problems. Do check with your dietician/physician.

5. Garlic: Garlic contains selenium and antioxidants. It helps to neutralize free radicals.

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About the Author
Dr Bhavani Swaminathan Dr Bhavani Swaminathan

Dr Bhavani Swaminathan, Nutrition and Wellness Coach at GetSetUp

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