Nutrition and aging go hand-in-hand

Nutrition is important for people of all ages but it’s especially important for people over the age of 50, who can dramatically improve their quality of life by eating a well-balanced diet filled with vitamins and nutrients.

Though that may seem like common sense, research has shown that men and women in this age group, who are often referred to as “Baby Boomers,” are not necessarily as

healthy as they may seem.

While the baby boomer generation, which is generally regarded as those people born between 1946 and 1964, boasts longer life expectancies than any generation that came before them, some of that can likely be chalked up to advancements in medical care, including a booming pharmaceutical industry that seemingly has an antidote to every ailment.

But a 2013 study from researchers at the West Virginia University School of Medicine found that baby boomers are less healthy than the generation that immediately preceded them, tending to be more likely to have higher levels of hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol.

While that news might be sobering, it’s never too late for men and women over 50 to start eating healthier diets, which can reduce their risk of a wide range of ailments, including heart disease, stroke and osteoporosis.

The following are a few ways men and women over 50 can alter their diets so their bodies are getting what they need to live long and healthy lives well into their golden years.

. Balance your diet. When changing your diet, be sure to include plenty of protein and carbohydrates. Protein maintains and rebuilds muscles, which is especially important for aging men and women who might find themselves unable to keep up with the physical demands of everyday life as well as they used to.

Carbohydrates are a great source of energy that can help you stay active well past the age of 50.

Don’t denounce dairy – it’s a great source of calcium, which promotes strong bones and teeth. People over the age of 50 want their bones to be as strong as possible because aging is one of the strongest risk factors for osteoporosis, a potentially debilitating medical condition in which loss of tissue causes bones to become brittle and fragile.

Cut back on sodium. This means more than just throwing the salt shaker away. Processed foods, soups, canned goods, salad dressings, condiments such as mustard and ketchup, and breakfast cereals are just a few of the many products that may contain alarming amounts of sodium.

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