Cut down on calories
If you are carrying excess weight and it won’t budge, it may be because you now need fewer calories. Over 50s who aren’t active need 200 fewer calories per day than those who lead a very physically active life. Adjust your diet to accommodate your slowing metabolism, for example, by reducing portion size rather than by cutting out foods.
Choosing good carbs
Good carbohydrates are unrefined, rich in nutrients and fiber, high in flavor, and keep you feeling satisfied for hours. Aim for six servings a day if you are not very active; up to nine if you do more exercise. Choose brown and wild rices, oats, seeded wholemeal loaves, wholewheat pasta. Even a homebaked cake such as lemon cake made with polenta and pistachios supplies good carbs. If you’re used to fresh home-cooked food, bad carbs are obvious because they don’t taste good: chewy white bread, soggy processed quiche and pizza bases, sugary breakfast cereals, cake that never goes off. Avoid them altogether.
Eat whole grains
Fiber-rich whole grains are a particularly good food choice as we age. In one study, people over 60 who ate the most whole grains were less likely to suffer metabolic syndrome, a group of symptoms implicated in heart disease and diabetes. They were slimmer, too. Whole grains are also rich in B vitamins and magnesium. Brown rice, for example, contains double the magnesium of white rice. A magnesium-rich diet is also essential for bone density. Choose organic to avoid pesticide residue.