Find out what makes the 50s the new 40s
In Your 50s and 60s
You have a better work/life balance, your kids are older so you get back some of your time.
Physical signs of aging are definitely present, your joints may crunch and crack or get stiff. Your sleep pattern changes and not for the better. This is also a time when your Hormones plunge, the risk of high cholesterol and blood pressure as well as Type 2 Diabetes increase.
Your Action Plan
Maintain your weight: As your metabolism slows down, keep adjusting what you eat and how much you move. Aim for a combination of weight-bearing exercise and aerobic activity to help keep bones and joints strong. It will also maintain your muscle mass and metabolism.
Essential fatty acids (omega 3 fatty acids in particular) keep the brain (memory), heart and eyes healthy. Two 8 ounce servings of fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) is enough to hit the mark. But so are walnuts, which are rich in ALA, a plant based omega 3 fatty acid. A study in the American Journal of clinical Nutrition found that each gram of ALA lowers the risk of death from coronary artery disease, the number one cause of death in women. Perhaps more significant to many of us is that a study in The Journal of Nutrition and Cancer found that eating 2 ounces of walnuts a day postponed the development of breast cancer in animals.
Getting omega through the diet is ideal. Be careful of supplements as fatty acids at high doses can cause stomach upset and interfere with medications like blood thinners.
Mix up the colors of fruits and vegetables: Carotenoids and pigments are anti-oxidants. A report in the Annals of Neurology found that strawberries and blueberries in particular, delayed memory decline and decreased inflammation.
Phytoestrogens: Menopause often means a lower sex drive, osteoporosis and heart disease. All related to a drop in estrogen levels. These plants mimic the effects of estrogen. Things like soy, lentils, sweet potatoes and linseeds, may help address menopausal symptoms but there is still debate. Eating 15-25g of soy protein or alternative a day may also help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Calcium and Vitamin D become even more important. You need 1,200 mg of calcium each day to help counter the rapid bone loss that occurs at menopause. Be careful of caffeine as it can impact your calcium absorption. Your skin, liver and kidney’s ability to produce vitamin D decline. Supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IU each day is helpful to get the benefit of improved hunger signals, better mood, and enhanced immunity.
Vitamin K: Don't forget the dark leafy vegetables like kale and spinach. If you eat more than 110 mcg a day you are less likely to break a hip than women eating very little of the vitamin. Some studies suggest that vitamin K helps maintain skin elasticity and collagen.
Vitamin B12 is another good add on because it protects nerves and cells. As the acidity of the stomach changes, you don't absorb it very well. It is found naturally in animal foods, especially beef liver and clams, and in some fortified foods. You can also get it from a multivitamin.
If you haven't already integrated anti-inflammatory supplements in your diet, now is the time. Our anti-inflammatory powder in particular hits on many evidence based sure fire ways to reduce inflammation; Bromelain, garlic, turmeric, cocoa and berries to name a few.
Important health screenings in your 50s
-blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol screening
-DEXA scan for osteoporosis
-Mammogram every 2 years
-Pap and HPV test every 3-5 years
-Colonoscopy screen for colorectal cancer
Written by Dr. Elise Weiss, MD, a Columbia and Cornell trained Physiatrist, a medical speciality devoted to achieving better physical health and healing without surgery.