Publication date April 25, 2023

The Importance of a Healthy Diet after Turning 50

As you reach your fifties, your body and dietary needs change. You may suddenly crave certain foods or require more nutrients than before. That's why updating your diet with age-appropriate foods is important as you reach this milestone.

Whether you're a few years away from fifty or have already hit the mark, this article will provide you with everything you need to know about updating your diet. Let's look at how your diet should change when you turn fifty and what foods you should start incorporating into your meals right away!

Healthy diet food

Eating the right foods is the most common and one of the best ways to maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails—not to mention overall energy. Here are some of the reasons why adding certain foods to your diet at the age of 50 is so important.

Stronger Immune System

Our immune system naturally weakens with age, so it becomes even more important to eat foods that support it. This includes nuts and seeds, which contain anti-inflammatory omega fatty acids that help strengthen our immune response. Eating sweet potatoes for their beta-carotene is also an excellent way to boost immunity, as beta-carotene helps combat infections and ward off disease. Beta-carotene is a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body.

Healthy Heart

At 50, our arteries often start to stiffen and harden, resulting in improper circulation and putting us at risk for heart disease. To maintain a healthy heart, incorporate whole grains into your diet—whole wheat bread, quinoa and oats are all great choices. Also, ensure you get enough magnesium in your diet; this can be found in leafy greens like kale and spinach and legumes like chickpeas and lentils.

Strong Bones

Another common issue with aging is bone density loss. To combat this factor in your life now, make sure you're getting enough calcium (found in dairy products) into your diet and plenty of vitamin D (egg yolks or sunshine). And remember vitamin K2.

Vitamin K2 is essential for bone health because it helps to control calcium metabolism. It precisely activates osteocalcin, a protein that aids in binding calcium to the bone matrix, thereby strengthening bones and lowering the risk of fracture. 

Maintaining Bone Health With Vitamins and Minerals

As you age, bone health is something to keep an eye on, and getting adequate amounts of certain vitamins and minerals is important. Incorporating foods rich in these vitamins and minerals into your diet can help you maintain strong bones.


Calcium is essential for strong bones, and you must get enough. Dairy products, kale, collard greens, okra, and edamame, are good sources of calcium. There are also calcium-fortified orange juice, cereal and bread, and tofu made with calcium sulfate as options if dairy products don't fit your diet.

Below is a table displaying the recommended daily intake of calcium. 

AgeMale FemalePregnantLactating
19–50 years1,000mg1,000mg1,000mg1,000mg
51–70 years1,000mg1,200mg
>70+ years1,200mg1,200mg

         Source: National Institute of Health - Office of Dietary Supplements 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D aids the body in absorbing calcium and other minerals contributing to bone health. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) advises 400-800 IU, or 10-20 micrograms, per day. You can get vitamin D's daily intake from exposure to the sun or through foods like fortified milk or yogurt, fatty fish, egg yolks, and mushrooms.


Potassium helps the body absorb calcium effectively; some good sources are sweet potatoes, spinach, lima beans, and prunes.


Magnesium works in synergy with calcium to keep bones strong; be sure to include sources like nuts (almonds in particular), whole grains (oatmeal or brown rice), edamame, avocado, and dark chocolate in your meals regularly!

Whole Grains for Fiber and Energy

Fiber food for diet

If you're approaching 50, then eating whole grains should be a crucial part of your diet. They provide the added fiber and complex carbs you need now. Remember, these are not just simple carbs like white rice and bread; whole grains are an amazing way to get essential nutrients into your system without eating lots of calories.

The Daily intake of fiber for people on a 2,000-calorie diet is approximately 28 grams per day, as suggested by the Food and Drug Administration. This figure may also be affected by age or gender.

The USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise the following amounts of fiber:

AgeMale Female
19–50 years31-34g25-28g
>50+ years28g22g

              Source: USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 

So why should you add more whole grains to your diet? Here's why:

A Source of Fiber

Whole grains are packed with the goodness of fiber, which helps your digestive system work properly, and it also helps lower cholesterol levels. High-fiber foods also help regulate blood sugar levels and can make you feel fuller for longer—so they're great for weight management too! Not only that, but dietary fiber can also decrease your risk of developing diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Sources of Complex Carbs

Whole grains contain complex carbohydrates, a great energy source for the body. Complex carbs break down in the body differently than refined sugar (simple carbohydrates), providing a steady supply of energy that lasts longer than what you'd get from sugary snacks or food items. Plus, complex carbs help improve brain function because they boost serotonin levels.

So if you're approaching 50, adding whole grains to your diet can increase your dietary fiber intake and complex carbohydrates. Here are some examples:

  1. Brown rice
  2. Oats
  3. Quinoa
  4. Farro
  5. Wild rice

Enjoy Healthy Fats With Fish, Nuts, and Avocado

As you age, your body requires different kinds of nutrients. One of the important ones is healthy fats, which people often need to remember to include in their diet. Thankfully, adding healthy fats to your diet can be delicious and easy. Options like fish, nuts, and avocados are all great sources of healthy fats that you can easily incorporate into your meals.


Fish is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, which is a type of polyunsaturated fat that helps reduce inflammation and boosts heart health. Fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna are excellent sources of omega-3s, so try to eat them at least once or twice a week. Depending on your preference, you can bake it in the oven or lightly pan-fry them for a quick and easy meal option.


Nuts like almonds and walnuts are also packed with healthy fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. They also contain protein, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Nuts are also great as snacks throughout the day since they're easy to carry around and don't require any special preparation; just watch how much you're eating since they are high in calories!


Avocados are packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol levels. They're also an exceptional source of fiber which helps with digestion; plus, they add a delicious creamy texture to various dishes such as salads or smoothies for an added nutrition boost!

Adding more healthy fats into your diet is beneficial for your overall health — just make sure to enjoy them.

Add Protein With Beans and Lentils

As you reach your 50s, it's important to get more protein in your diet. Protein helps repair and rebuild and keeps your brain and muscles active. Beans and lentils are exceptional sources of protein, fiber, B vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.

For the average adult, the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass per day. However, this is just the minimum requirement - according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should be getting 10-35% of their daily calories from protein.

AgeMale FemalePregnant & Lactating
19–70 years56.0g46.0g71.0g

                                    Source: Medical News Today

If you've always been a bit wary of beans and lentils, now's the time to give them a go. Here are a few things you should be aware of:

Different Varieties

Beans come in many shapes and sizes, each with a unique flavor profile. Kidney beans have their signature red colorings, whereas black-eyed peas give off an earthy flavor. No matter what type of bean you choose, they all provide nutritional benefits to help you stay energized throughout the day.

Benefits of Beans and Lentils

Beans and lentils offer plenty of benefits beyond protein. Both are incredibly filling due to their high-fiber content and add great texture to dishes like soups, salads or casseroles. They can also be combined with different foods for interesting flavor combinations that help keep meals interesting for days on end.

Preparing Lentils and Beans

When preparing beans or lentils for consumption, it's important to remember that some require pre-soaking before cooking, while others don't need any soaking at all. To make things easier on yourself, opt for canned forms as opposed to dried ones—all the work has already been done for you!

To further enhance the flavors of your meal featuring beans or lentils, try adding little touches such as garlic or herbs like oregano or basil while cooking them up.

Reaching the age of 50 can be a scary time, especially when it comes to your health. To ensure that your body and mind are in good condition, it's important to make sure your diet is up to date with these foods. Whether it's adding nuts and seeds for protein or incorporating more leafy greens for easy digestion, these foods can help you stay healthy and strong for years to come.

It's never too late to make necessary changes to your diet, so don't wait till you're over 50 to start adding these foods. Doing so early can help make sure you remain healthy and happy and that you age gracefully. So eat up, and make sure you fill your plate with these foods!

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