The changes you need to make

As you pass your half-cen­tury mile­stone, hor­monal and me­tab­o­lism changes mean your diet re­quires a re­think.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - HEALTH -

Eat More, Eat Less

As we age, our nu­tri­tional needs change to fo­cus on pro­tect­ing our body and brain and pre­vent­ing dis­ease. We also be­come less ef­fi­cient at us­ing our fuel stores, so main­tain­ing our usual weight be­comes more dif­fi­cult and weight gain is com­mon. To com­pen­sate for these shift­ing needs, it’s es­sen­tial to re­assess your diet and make some ad­just­ments. Di­eti­tian and nu­tri­tion­ist Jaime Rose Cham­bers sug­gests some sim­ple swaps to get you started.

EAT MORE • Skim or low-fat dairy prod­ucts EAT LESS • Full-fat dairy prod­ucts

Bone loss be­gins to ac­cel­er­ate at peri-menopause, putting women at risk of os­teo­poro­sis, how­ever men are at greater risk later in life, too. Low-fat dairy prod­ucts like skim milk and low-fat yo­ghurt pro­vide the cal­cium our bones need (three serves to meet the re­quired 1000-1300mg per day), but with­out the ad­di­tional en­ergy and sat­u­rated fats that you get from the full-fat va­ri­eties.

EAT MORE • Legumes EAT LESS • Pro­cessed meats

Eat­ing too many pro­cessed meats like ba­con, salami and frank­furts in­creases your risk of bowel can­cer, whereas fi­bre-rich foods like legumes have been shown to have a pro­tec­tive ef­fect. It’s rec­om­mended to mostly avoid pro­cessed meats and swap some of them for a meal con­tain­ing legumes such as chick­peas.

EAT MORE • Whole­grains EAT LESS • White breads and grains

The risk of de­vel­op­ing type 2 di­a­betes greatly in­creases af­ter the age of 50. Con­sum­ing lower gly­caemic-in­dex grains, such as oats, rye, bar­ley, whole­grain breads and ce­re­als, can help to re­duce blood sugar and in­sulin spikes and sup­port weight man­age­ment.

EAT MORE • Oily fish EAT LESS • Red meat

As we age our mus­cle mass de­clines, which slows down our meta­bolic rate, so the weight you were once able to main­tain be­comes more dif­fi­cult. In­creas­ing pro­tein in­take can help with this, with a fo­cus on omega-3-rich oily fish like salmon and sar­dines and less red meat like beef, lamb and pork.

EAT MORE • Whole fruits EAT LESS • Fruit juice

As we age our gas­troin­testi­nal tract slows down. This, to­gether with hor­monal fluc­tu­a­tions and, of­ten, life­style changes, can mean that con­sti­pa­tion is more com­mon. To keep bow­els reg­u­lar, it’s im­por­tant to get enough fi­bre in our diet. A whole piece of fruit, such as an ap­ple with the skin, con­tains around 5g of fi­bre, whereas an ap­ple juice con­tains vir­tu­ally none.

EAT MORE • Ex­tra vir­gin olive oil EAT LESS • Veg­etable oil

Brain health is im­por­tant as we age and re­search has shown that ex­tra vir­gin olive oil may be one of the best ad­di­tions to your diet to pro­tect against cog­ni­tive de­cline. Some veg­etable oils used for cook­ing and found in pack­aged prod­ucts may have the op­po­site ef­fect.

EAT MORE • Coloured veg­eta­bles EAT LESS • Potato

The bright colours of veg­eta­bles are due to the pres­ence of plant an­tiox­i­dants. These help com­bat ox­ida­tive stress, which dam­ages cells and con­trib­utes to agere­lated dis­ease. Aim for half your lunch and din­ner to be a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent coloured veges.

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