Fifty is the new forty. Today’s health conscious middle aged women are working to stay healthy as they age gracefully. It’s important to understand that the health goals you set for yourself at age 50 should be different than they were when you were in your forties and thirties. If you are over fifty, the three biggest health factors that you should focus on to help you maintain your overall wellbeing include regulating your blood sugar levels, protecting your bones, and keeping your heart healthy.
Healthy Sugar Levels
Much has been said about the dangers of a high sugar diet. For women over age fifty, keeping sugar levels in check is especially important for maintaining a healthy weight, and a healthy heart. The ability to regulate blood sugar is more difficult over age 50. Strive to keep your blood glucose level in a healthy range by eating high quality foods and staying active. Check the ingredients in the packaged foods you eat and limit products with added sugar and artificial sweeteners. Avoid sugary drinks like soda and sweetened coffee and tea. Replace these empty calorie beverages with water, and add a squeeze of lemon or lime for a natural sweetener instead.
During menopause, as estrogen levels dip, a woman’s rate of bone breakdown increases while the rate of new bone formation slows, putting you at risk for osteoporosis. To protect your bones as you age, talk to your doctor about your risks for osteoporosis. He/she will likely recommend regular bone density screenings once you reach age 65, but depending on your health history, your doctor may suggest earlier screenings. To further protect your bone health, make sure your diet includes plenty of calcium. Aim for at least 1,200 milligrams per day from calcium-rich foods like milk, kale, sardines, and yogurt. Your doctor may also recommend a daily supplement to help you reach your calcium intake goals.
As women age, and especially after menopause, they lose some of their bodies’ natural defenses against heart disease. Women over age 50 are also at greater risk for developing high cholesterol levels, and type 2 diabetes – two heart health related conditions that can have deadly consequences. To protect your heart long-term, be sure to eat a diet that includes fruits, vegetables, fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats. The best foods to incorporate into your diet include salmon, walnuts, low-fat milk, oatmeal, and olive oil. In addition to maintaining a healthy diet, it is important to stay active. Just 30 minutes of physical activity a day will help protect your heart as you age.
Remember that staying healthy at any age doesn’t have to be overwhelming. The core of any health routine is to maintain a healthy diet and to stay active. Over age 50, if you work with your doctor to particularly monitor your blood sugar levels, bone density, and heart health, you will be putting yourself in the best position to maintain your overall wellbeing long into the future.