Age and Nutrition
Women start losing calcium from their bones at the ripe old age of 30, and significant mineral loss begins after 50.
Seniors and Exercise
Go to our Nutrition & Fitness Center Index for more nutrition advice. Over 50 and Fabulous!
By Frances Largeman, R.D.
Much attention is paid to the nutritional needs of teenage girls and women in their childbearing years, but what about women over 50? Turns out, they have some special needs of their own.
Calcium — Bone Up
Women start losing calcium from their bones at the ripe old age of 30, and significant mineral loss begins after 50. In fact, the recommended daily calcium intake actually increases from 1,000 milligrams or women ages 19-50 to 1,200 milligrams for women over 50. Most women know that they need calcium to keep their bones strong, yet nine out of 10 women over 30 consume only half the recommended amount of calcium each day.
If you're over 50 and you don't think you're getting 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day from low-fat dairy products and calcium-fortified foods, you should consider taking a supplement. Weight-bearing exercise should also be part of your active lifestyle. Along with actual weight training, weight-bearing exercise includes walking, running, yoga and tennis.
Fiber — Add Bulk
Adding bulk to your diet can help prevent you from adding it to your hips! A diet high in fiber helps keep you regular, and foods high in fiber provide a feeling of fullness, which can prevent you from overeating at meals. Additionally, fiber aids in lowering total cholesterol levels and has been shown to help prevent colon cancer. Recently, 10 grams of daily fiber (in the form of three apples a day) was found to cut the risk of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of both men and women in the United States.
Keep Calories in Mind
Like bone mass, energy needs start to drop after the age of 30 due to lower activity levels. Most women don't take this into consideration, and therefore, the much maligned "middle-age spread" starts to pack on the pounds. Even active women over 50 should keep their calories to approximately 1,900 per day. Regular exercise, as with any age in life, will help keep you fit, trim, flexible and feeling younger.
Even if you're over 50, you're certainly not old. Haven't you heard? Fifty is the new 30, so take care of yourself for many more fabulous years!