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For adults over 50, the benefits of healthy eating include increased mental acuteness, resistance to illness and disease, higher energy levels, faster recuperation times, and better management of chronic health problems. As we age, eating well can also be the key to a positive outlook and staying emotionally balanced. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be about dieting and sacrifice. Whatever your age, eating well should be all about fresh, colorful food, creativity in the kitchen, and eating with friends.

Healthy eating over 50: Feeding the body, mind and soul

Remember the old adage, you are what you eat? Make it your motto. When you choose a variety of colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins you’ll feel vibrant and healthy, inside and out.

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Nuts and heartBy Dr Yannan Jin (BSc, PhD) 
Lecturer in Clinical Nutrition, Sports and Health Sciences Department, Liverpool Hope University

Globally, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer are the leading causes of disability and death in older age. With the increase in average life expectancy, it is important to understand how lifestyle factors can help to reduce our risk of chronic disease and maintain optimal health. So, what changes to our diet and nutrition can help to improve our life expectancy?

The ageing population
In Europe, ageing is one of the greatest social and economic challenges of the 21st century. The World Health Organisation (WHO) forecasts that the proportion of people aged 65 and older will increase from 14% in 2010 to 25% in 2050, with a particularly rapid increase in numbers of over-80s. People are generally living longer, but quality of life in later years can vary greatly. (1). Regardless of their socioeconomic group, health in old age should be improved to reduce the risk of social isolation and poverty. 

Fruit and vegetables for health
In recent decades, scientific researchers have looked to the diet in order to prevent the risk of CVD and cancer. Fruits and vegetables have been strongly suggested as the key components to maintain a healthy heart. An increasing number of scientific studies have provided evidence that consumption of a diet rich in selected foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables, is associated with a lower incidence of heart diseases including coronary heart disease (CHD) and CVD, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases. The reported beneficial effects of fruit and vegetables on heart health may be attributed to many of their constituents, including vitamin C and E, potassium and folate. Other components such as dietary fibres and carotenoids (found in green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and carrots) are recommended as some of the best candidates for a healthy heart.

Getting adequate nutrition may be trickier for older adults. Because seniors tend to be less active than younger people, they need fewer calories. Yet research shows that older people may need more of certain key nutrients, such as B vitamins and calcium.

Unfortunately, nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition can persist for a long time before they show up in physical signs or symptoms. Still, there are a few indicators you -- and your doctor -- can watch for. 

Project co-funded tby the European Commission under the Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) Joint Programme with the budget of the Ministerio de Industria,
Energía y Turismo with the references AAL-2012-5-120, AAL-010000-2013-18 and AAL-010000-2013-4


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