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Although we wish we could go back in time, aging doesn’t stop for anyone. This is why it is important to maintain the overall health of the body as much as possible. It may not always be in your control, but there are things you can target to make sure you’re doing all you can to stay healthy. Working out and following a balanced diet are two ways to support a healthy body after 50 and beyond.

If you don’t know where to start or how to do it, we’ve got you covered. Jessica SylvesterMS, RD, LDN, CNSC, CDCESclinical dietitian, media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and owner of Florida Nutrition Groupshares with us the best eating habits to have that can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle if you are over 50.

Something to consider about these best eating habits over 50 is that “these recommendations are made for generally healthy adults without chronic medical conditions,” says Sylvester. “Dietary advice should be unique to the individual and their medical conditions.

Additionally, Sylvester states that these are general recommendations. Always check with your doctor and dietitian before starting a new eating routine.

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Bone density is at its peak in the early twenties. After that, it begins to weaken.

“As we age, our bones begin to leach calcium and we become more susceptible to falls,” says Sylvester. “Sometimes these falls are the result of bone fragility. Other times they are evidence of diminished bone health.”

Because these falls can be detrimental to our health and well-being, and can even be life-threatening, it is important to minimize the risk of falls and/or the catastrophic consequences of a fall by “taking a daily supplement of calcium and vitamin D. Not only will this supplement help preserve bone density, but vitamin D also plays a role in maintaining gut health, allowing your body to absorb the nutrients consumed.

If you want to go the extra mile, Sylvester suggests avoiding dairy and meat in the same meal. “Dairy products contain calcium and meat contains iron; the two minerals oppose each other in the body,” says Sylvester. “By eating them at the same time, you minimize the dietary benefits of both.”

snack plate with carrots, peanut butter, nuts and blueberries
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Many things can slow down as we age, and that includes our metabolism. “So older people generally need to consume fewer calories during the day than before,” says Sylvester.

While some people may notice that they are less hungry, others may have to adjust to this “new physiological adaptation.” To do this, she suggests eating smaller meals throughout the day.

But because you’re eating fewer calories at a time, it’s important to make sure you’re still getting enough nutrients from your food.

“To do this while eating fewer calories, it’s best to eat more frequently throughout the day,” says Sylvester. “This will not only ensure that you are meeting your caloric needs, but also your vitamin and mineral needs.” Vitamins and minerals help your body function properly and maintain your health.

But if you’re still struggling to eat smaller, more frequent meals while getting enough nutrients, Sylvester recommends supplementation. “If you find it difficult to meet your calorie and nutrient needs throughout the day, take a high-quality multivitamin and/or drink a nutritional supplement,” says Sylvester. “Both are available at most pharmacies.”

RELATED: Surprising Side Effects Of Taking Multivitamins After 50, Experts Say

Assortment of raw proteins
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Getting enough protein is important, but it’s especially important as you age.

“Most adults begin to lose muscle mass as they age,” says Sylvester. “Our muscles play a role in metabolic health, physical stability, and wound healing.”

Consuming enough protein helps preserve muscle mass, thereby preventing sarcopenia, the progressive loss of muscle mass and function associated with age.

“We often don’t recognize the signs of sarcopenia due to increased weight gain and adiposity (fat) associated with the hormonal changes that come with aging,” says Sylvester. “So although the number on your scale is the same as it was years ago, your body composition has probably changed so that you have less muscle and more fat.”

For healthy adults without chronic conditions, such as kidney disease, dietitians recommend getting 20% ​​of your calories from protein.

“Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to supplement the protein diet,” says Sylvester. “Eating lean meat sources, like chicken and fish, eggs, or beans is a good start. But if you find you’re still not hitting those protein goals, look for a protein shake, bar or even a protein cookie in your supermarket and pharmacy aisles”

RELATED: 4 Best High-Protein Snacks For Stronger Muscles In Your 50s

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As important as eating, drinking is just as important.

“Fluid recommendations are highly individualized based on age, activity level, and health status,” says Sylvester. “Most people need 1.5 to 3 liters of fluids a day.” One liter is about 33 ounces or about 4 cups.

“Our thirst mechanisms, the signals in our brain that tell us to drink, aren’t as strong in adulthood as they were in childhood,” says Sylvester. “So it’s important to make a conscious effort to drink.”

Following fluid recommendations not only prevents dehydration, “it also plays an important role in maintaining a healthy metabolism,” she adds.

In order to meet your fluid needs, Sylvester suggests using a small bottle of water. Use one that you will enjoy drinking and can also easily carry throughout the day. Sylvester even suggests trying using a kids’ water bottle and committing to drinking at least 1-2 full bottles during the day.

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Sylvester stresses the importance of consulting a dietitian for your dietary needs. (To find a dietitian, go to www.eatright.org and click on “Find an expert”.)

“Dietary advice is very individualized and will differ by age and medical history,” she says. “The best resource for nutrition advice is a Registered Dietitian (RD); dietitians are the nation’s nutrition experts with the ability to tailor your diet to your specific needs.”

As we age, our bodies become more susceptible to infection and disease. Many people feel like their bodies become foreign to them as they age and have difficulty adjusting to their nutritional needs. Dietitians will work with you and your doctors to deal with these changes by managing your diet to maintain health.