How to Stay Healthy During Those Fabulous Fifties
Each stage of life comes with different gifts and challenges – and the art of maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle includes being able to understand the physiological metamorphoses that occur at each distinct "Age and Stage" to best ensure overall health and well-being. As we enter our 50s, certain body changes make it more important than ever to adopt healthy cardio and physical health protocols to stay in top gear, and provide our hearts with optimal protection. And, who doesn't want to stay trim, youthful looking, energized, and have the support of a well-functioning cardio vascular system to keep us on our game as we age?
Best-selling author and nutritionist Keri Glassman and Kaneka Nutrients, manufacturer of the top heart health ingredient Ubiquinol, the active form of CoQ10, offer up some salient tips to help everyday folks "age like a star" as they top the big 50 – with a special eye on cardio wellness.
Navigating our Bodies' Unique "Ages and Stages"
It's no surprise that our bodies crave different forms of nutritional support at different periods of growth and development. That's because each phase of life brings a series of varied physiological and metabolic changes. When we're kids, moms preach the importance of "eating our vegetables" to glean the multitude of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other healthy compounds that growing bodies require; in our 20s, it's all about getting enough iron, calcium and protein; in our 30s, women, in particular, need folates for their child-bearing years, along with omega 3 fatty acids and calcium to combat emerging bone loss; and in our 40s, fiber, vitamin D and vitamin C take center stage.
Nutritional needs through the decades change because of the ages and stages of our changing lives. Even up until the age of 50, many of us take our health for granted and pay little attention, in particular, to our cardio well-being. But our heart health can naturally decline as we age – and there are specific nutritional needs that come into laser focus as we enter this "fabulous" decade.
The Fabulous Fifties: A Time of Change for Women … and Men
The 50s are a time of immense physiological change – especially for women. Just as our physical appearance starts to change as collagen production decreases, we become more vulnerable to heart health risks and cardio disease than our younger counterparts. Not only does cardio health become increasingly important during this time, but many women experience the onset of menopause, which brings a host of hormonal and metabolic shifts to the body's eco system. And, for both men and women, things start moving a little slower once we surpass this age milestone.
As our metabolism slows, we typically start to store increased belly fat and experience an overall decrease in muscle mass. This is why appropriate caloric intake during this decade becomes more essential than ever before – with an emphasis on nutrient dense food and ingredient choices.
But the 50s are also a life stage filled with vibrant living and full of family activities, professional achievement and recreation. So how can eager "Quinquagenarians" maintain their zest for life, while also helping to keep their heart in top form?
What's Important to Focus on at 50+
•Integrate Monounsaturated Fats (MUFAs) into a healthy diet: It may seem counterintuitive to fight fat with fat, but fats help moderate hormones, appetite, insulin response and vitamin absorption, all of which are especially vital to women during menopause. But all fats are not created equal. Increasing MUFAs can lower your cholesterol. Choosing foods like nuts, olive oil, avocado, and tahini are a good, nutritious and heart healthy option.
•Tap the power of super nutrients for better heart health. Heart disease is the number one killer of women (and total deaths in the United States) and now is your time to prevent it. Ubiquinol, the active form of Coenzyme Q10, is an antioxidant that provides energy for a strong and healthy heart helping to protect and strengthen it. Our bodies naturally produce CoQ10, but as we age, we lose the ability to convert CoQ10 to Ubiquinol. You can get Ubiquinol in small amounts from food sources like beef shoulder, chicken breast, tuna and avocado, but most people will need to supplement their diet. Glassman recommends a Ubiquinol supplement for both men and women starting at age 40 and certainly into the 50s and beyond. (Additionally, studies also show that taking proactive measures to buoy heart health with Ubiquinol is something that even younger generations are starting to really embrace – so that by the time they enter their fifth decade, they're already reaping the cardio benefits.)
•Stay hydrated. Important at every age and stage of life, water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and every system in your body depends on water. With age, we lose our ability to conserve water and some medications can cause dehydration, too. Don't wait for your body to tell you it's thirsty, because it may be too late!
•Avoid a "processed" foods diet. Select instead a high-fiber, low sodium diet. High salt intake can spike blood pressure and lead to unhealthy hypertension which puts our hearts at risk. Processed foods are traditionally loaded with higher sodium. When "on the go," opt for portable snacks such as fresh turkey slices, hard-boiled eggs, and air-popped popcorn instead of sodium-packed over-the-counter, grocery check-out stand items such as potato chips that make a tempting but poor health choice.
•Make this the "just say no" decade. If you haven't already done away with proven heart and overall health vices such as the overuse of alcohol and smoking, your 50s is a great time to swear off these offenders. Both not only take a toll on the cardio-vascular system, but they prematurely age and damage the liver, lung and other organs – and smoking decreases elasticity and collagen production in the skin, leading to a less youthful appearance.
Equally important to overall heart protection and overall healthy aging is to have a good sense of your cardio history. Make a commitment to assessing your personal heart health and determine if you are at risk for cardiovascular disease through a lab work-up and evaluation that includes your cholesterol information and blood pressure reading.
SOURCE: Kaneka Nutrients