How to eat in your 50s: What you need to know about nutrition and health

How to stave off weight gain, heart disease, osteoporosis, loss of muscle and cholesterol

Fill your plate with bright colours including vegetables that are green, orange, red, purple and yellow, as these foods have antioxidants to help fight ageing. Photograph: iStock

Fill your plate with bright colours including vegetables that are green, orange, red, purple and yellow, as these foods have antioxidants to help fight ageing. Photograph: iStock

It is Health Season in The Irish Times. In print and online, we will be offering encouragement and inspiration to help us all improve our physical and mental health in 2022. See irishtimes.com/health

As we reach midlife, our bodies may compel us to make a few tweaks here and there when it comes to what we put on our plate as our nutritional needs require a little adapting.

“Our need for energy or calories reduces as we age,” says registered dietitian Maria Lucey. “We tend to be less active, and our metabolism begins to slow. Although this means that if we want to prevent weight gain, we need to eat less, our requirement for vitamins and minerals remains largely the same. In fact, we need slightly more protein and the same amount of vitamins and minerals as we always did. Over the age of 50, this ageing process is gradual and consistent in men. However, for women the changes tend to be more dramatic, coinciding with the onset of menopause.”

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