eatAccording to the National Institute of Aging, physically active men over 50 should be consuming 2,400-2,800 calories a day; physically active women over 50 should be consuming about 2,000. Men over 50 who are not physically active require 2,000 calories and non-physically active women over 50 need about 1,600 calories a day to thrive. But balanced nutrition expands well beyond calorie counting. Fruits, veggies, proteins, calcium and whole grains all contribute to a healthier, happier life, including resistance to illness, increased mental sharpness and higher energy levels. By cutting out the “bad” carbs, reducing sodium and sugar intake and cooking smart, you can enjoy the benefits of eating healthy.

Memory Boosters

The Alzheimer’s Association compares a brain-healthy diet to a heart-healthy diet. Both heart-healthy and brain-healthy diets reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease as both diets are low in fat, cholesterol and both diets encourage blood flow to the brain. Heart-healthy and brain-healthy diets are also high in B vitamins, omega 3s, antioxidants and proteins. There’s no single food to prevent age-related memory loss, however, consuming foods rich with vitamins and minerals can certainly help. It’s best to get your vitamins straight from the source because the body absorbs them better.

Memory-boosting foods like leafy greens, vegetables, berries, dark-skinned fruits, spices like cinnamon and curry along with olive oil, salmon and other cold-water fish can all help to defend against age-related memory impairment.

Boost your memory and make a delicious baked salmon dish. Prepare your salmon by topping each piece with a mixture of sweet onions, tomatoes, chopped garlic, fresh basil and one tablespoon of virgin olive oil. Wrap up each piece of fish in aluminum foil and place them in the oven at 300 degrees. Thawed fish can be cooked in just 15 minutes. The dish will be ready when the salmon is flaky and moist.

Fiber-Filled Foods

High-fiber foods not only help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, they can improve the health of your skin and boost your immune system too. As you age, digestion becomes slightly less efficient, so it’s important to have a diet rich with plant-based fiber. Men over 50 should be consuming 30 grams of fiber each day and women over 50 should aim to eat at least 21 grams per day. However, reports that nine out of 10 Americans aren’t getting enough fiber.

Start your day with a fiber-filled breakfast and enjoy whole grain waffles with flax. Top off your waffles with fresh berries or add a punch of protein with a handful of walnuts or almonds. Whole fruits are also a good source of fiber. Decorative baskets filled with pears, apples and other treats, like those by FTD, are a delicious, healthy surprise.

Calcium for Bone Health

As you age, calcium becomes critical. Everyday Health suggests that seniors should consume calcium-rich foods like low-fat dairy products including yogurts and cheeses and non-dairy calcium sources like broccoli, kale, tofu and almonds to supplement bone health, protect against bone fractures and osteoporosis. Aging men and women should aim to consume 1,200 milligrams of calcium each day.

A low-fat yogurt parfait with fruits and nuts combines healthy fats, calcium, vitamin C and carbohydrates. This snack can be fixed up quickly and can keep you full and satisfied between meals, all while supporting bone health.

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