Your body changes and functions differently every decade of your life. Understanding what it needs and supplying it with the right nourishment and support can help ensure that you feel at your best at every age. If you’re 50 or older, giving these four functions special attention and care can help you feel your best so you can focus on living your life—not health concerns.
Unsurprisingly as we age, so do our cells. The science behind it is complex, but the bottom line is that when your body uses oxygen during any sort of activity, it produces byproducts called free radicals, which can accelerate the aging process and destroy healthy cells. Luckily, you have an ally: antioxidants can help combat these harmful free radicals and minimize cell damage. That’s why consuming a rich diet of antioxidant-filled fruits and vegetables that include vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium and carotenoids can help keep your cells healthy and functioning properly at every stage of your life.
Constantly losing your keys or misplacing things? We all experience “brain fog” at one time or another, but it can happen more frequently as you get older. Your brain is an important organ to keep in shape, because it affects everything you do. Strive to keep yours fit with new activities and challenges. Taking on new hobbies, playing memory games and doing crossword puzzles are all fun ways to help keep the cobwebs out of your head. Continually learning new information—whether it’s by reading, taking a class or trying something unfamiliar, challenges your brain and keeps those neurons fired up. If you’re looking for added support, certain vitamins and herbs, such as choline and ginkgo biloba, have also been shown to support memory function and mental acuity.
Your heart runs your whole body, which is why it’s especially crucial to keep yours strong. The omega-3 fatty acids found in certain types of fish help support your heart health. The long-chain omega-3 fatty acid EPA is particularly important when it comes to your cardio and circulatory health, because it promotes healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Aim to eat fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and trout three to four times a week for maximum benefits. You can also take a daily fish oil supplement to round out any gaps in your diet.
Bones can become weaker and brittle with age, which can put you at greater risk for fractures and structural complications. Supporting their strength also supports your overall health. Calcium is the main mineral you need in your bone-strengthening arsenal. Take extra care to load your diet with calcium-rich foods like broccoli, cabbage, almonds and low-fat dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. To ensure you’re getting what you need to fortify your bones as you get older, consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement, which helps your body absorb calcium for maximum bone benefits.
Keep your whole body functioning at its best—from your cells to your brain—by eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet and exercising regularly. Aerobic activities like walking, jogging, swimming and biking don’t just help you maintain a healthy weight, they also help keep your mind sharp, your bones strong and your heart and cells healthy.