Age is just a number. Whether you’re 32 or 82, you can feel young at any age. But society is always trying to tie negative connotations to aging, especially once you’ve reached 50. If you’re in your 50s, you’re either “over the hill” or having your “mid-life crisis.” However, being in your 50s is a beautiful thing, and you can enter that decade feeling healthy and young.
To learn more about healthy aging, we talked with a few dietitians to get their tips on feeling younger as the years pass by. Continue reading to learn more, and for more healthy aging advice, check out 5 Diet Secrets of the World’s Longest Living People.
Including regular servings of fatty fish in your diet can help you feel better as you age, especially if it replaces some servings of red or processed meat.
“Fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, and mackerel are excellent foods for healthy skin. They’re all high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to support skin and hair. They are also a great source of collagen and vitamin E, both of which contribute to skin hydration, elasticity, and potentially wrinkle control,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RDregistered dietitian and author at Go Wellness.
D’Angelo notes that grilling or baking fish is the healthiest way to prepare it, and “stay away from fried fish because you’ll be consuming grease and other potentially unhealthy oils.”
Getting enough protein is always important, but it’s especially crucial as you age.
“If you aren’t eating enough protein, chances are you’re feeling lethargic, which could lead to joint pain, depression symptoms, and make you feel old. But, in order to feel younger after 50, you’ll want to adopt eating more protein as a habit right now. Protein has numerous benefits, including helping you stay full longer, building lean muscle, shredding fat, and providing more energy throughout your day,” says D’Angelo.
Foods that are high in protein include chicken, turkey, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and quality whey protein powder or protein bars, says D’Angelo.
To feel younger after 50, try incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables into your regular eating habits.
“Make it a habit to include some kind of fruit and veggie for at least two of your main meals. (You can also eat them as snacks.) Fruits and veggies are nutrient-dense, low in calories, and rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants can help support healthy skin renewal and help protect your skin from sun damage,” says D’Angelo.
“Fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, apples, oranges, and grapes are great snack options. For vegetables, my recommendations are broccoli, leafy greens, green beans, carrots, green peppers, and cucumbers. You can eat them individually, or put them all in a salad,” she adds.
It’s easy to get caught in a routine, but try switching up what you’re eating in order to get more variety.
“It may sound obvious, but eating the same thing day in and day out can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Try adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet to get all the vitamins and minerals your body craves. Try adding some whole grains such as brown rice or barley into your diet, too, because these foods contain fiber, which helps lower cholesterol levels in the blood,” says Janet Coleman, RD, a registered dietitian with The Consumer Mag.
You don’t have to restrict yourself from eating the foods you love. Instead, something that can be beneficial is listening to your body and stopping when you’re no longer hungry.
“A lot of people tend to overeat when they are eating at home because they think they won’t notice if they take another bite or two. However, this can lead to overeating later on in the day when they aren’t looking at their meals closely enough or aren’t paying attention to their body’s signals,” says Coleman.
Red meat may be delicious, but it has unfortunately been found to contribute to potential health problems, especially as we age.
“Red meat contains toxins that accumulate as we age and cause inflammation in our cells, contributing to arthritis, cancer, and other diseases. Red meat may also cause us to gain weight because it’s high in saturated fat (a bad fat). Choose lean cuts of meat or other protein sources instead, like fish, poultry, or beans,” says Coleman.
RELATED: 4 Surprising Side Effects of Eating Red Meat in Your 50s
Avocados are a great food to add to your daily diet. Not only are they delicious and versatile, but they are made up of extremely healthy fats and antioxidants.
“Avocados are high in the ‘good for you’ type of fat (monounsaturated fats). Monounsaturated fats found in avocados are heart-healthy and can reduce LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels, while increasing HDL, or ‘good’ cholesterol levels Additionally, avocados are a rich source of potassium, which can help with our electrolyte balance and lowering blood pressure,” says Rachel Fine, RDN a registered dietitian and founder of To The Pointe Nutrition.
“In terms of beautifying powers, the vitamins and fat content of avocados provide a boost of age-defying antioxidants and photo chemicals. Specifically, vitamins B, C, folate, magnesium, lutein, and beta-carotene are just some of the main anti -aging antioxidants found is this creamy fruit,” Fine adds.