Eat Healthy: Men Over 50
A nutritious diet is an important component of healthy weight management and disease prevention in men over 50. A healthy diet is associated with an increased quality of life and higher rate of survival in older adults, according to a study published in a 2011 edition of the “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.” Eating healthy consists of consuming the appropriate number of calories daily and choosing nutrient-dense foods.
As men age, they require fewer and fewer calories for healthy weight maintenance. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, men over age 50 need 2,400 to 2,800 calories if they are active, 2,200 to 2,400 calories if they’re moderately active and 2,000 to 2,200 calories daily if they are sedentary. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 classify men as active if they walk more than 3 miles per day and moderately active if they exercise the equivalent of walking 1.5 to 3 miles daily.
Due to the decrease in muscle and bone mass associated with aging, men over age 50 generally require more protein than the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, according reviews published in a 2010 edition of “Aging Health” and in a 2008 edition of “Clinical Nutrition.” The RDA is 56 grams of protein daily for men over age 50. The 2008 review published in “Clinical Nutrition” suggests that older men can optimize their health and function by consuming 1.5 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 0.68 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily, which is equivalent to 112 grams of protein per day for a 165-pound man.
Fiber is important for healthy weight maintenance, managing cholesterol levels and preventing constipation in older adults. Most Americans fail to meet their daily fiber needs, according to a 2009 review published in “Nutrition Reviews.” Authors of this review recommend consuming 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume, which means men over 50 should aim for 34 grams of fiber daily when consuming a 2,400-calorie diet. Healthy, fiber-rich foods include whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
Vitamins and Minerals
Many men over 50 can meet their nutritional needs, including vitamin and mineral requirements, by eating a well-balanced diet. However, a review published in a 2008 edition of the “Journal of Nutrition for the Elderly” reports that older adults are at risk for developing deficiencies in vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and calcium, and dietary supplements may help improve nutrition status in this aging population. Always check with your doctor before taking a multivitamin supplement to see if it’s appropriate for you.
Foods to Limit
Saturated fats, trains fats, refined grains and added sugars provide calories but few beneficial nutrients for men over 50, and can cause health problems when eaten in excess. A review published in a 2010 edition of the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reports that diets high in saturated fat, partially hydrogenated fats, or trans fats, and refined carbohydrates can increase your risk for developing heart disease. Therefore, men over 50 should limit or avoid foods like high-fat meats, fried foods, baked goods, margarine, butter, high-fat dairy products, refined grains like white bread and white rice and added sugars and sweets. Instead choose whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and seafood, low-fat dairy foods, legumes, vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and nut butters.
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