Eating nutritiously can help you age well, allowing you to stay healthy and feel energized for everyday life. Women older than age 50 have different caloric needs than younger women. While your individual calorie requirements also depend on your size and activity level, basic calorie guidelines can help you figure out how much to eat each day.
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As you age, your metabolism slows down and your muscle mass decreases, causing you to burn less calories. Menopause and hormonal changes can also lead to weight gain. Women older than age 50 therefore do not need as many calories as younger women. Weight gain is not inevitable as you age, however, as cutting your calories and increasing your activity level can ward off extra pounds.You may need about 200 fewer calories a day in your 50s than you did during your 30s and 40s, advises MayoClinic.com.
Your activity level will in part determine how many calories you need to consume each day. Sedentary women older than 50 should consume about 1,600 calories per day, moderately active women need about 1,800 calories and active women older than 50 should consume between 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Your exact caloric needs also depend on your weight. In general, the more you weigh, the more calories you will burn each day.
Tufts University offers a modified version of the USDA MyPyramid for older adults. MyPyramid includes USDA guidelines on how much and what types of food to eat for a healthy, balanced diet. The modified pyramid for seniors includes the same basic guidelines, to eat a variety of foods from the grain, meat and beans, vegetable, fruit and dairy groups. Since older adults should consume less calories than other adults, it is especially important to eat nutrient-dense foods.
It is important for women older than 50 to consider the type of calories they are eating. Senior women require a variety of nutrients to stay healthy, including more calcium to keep your bones strong and minimize bone loss with age. After age 50, women need at least 1,200 mg of calcium per day, the American Dietetic Association advises. Also, increase your vitamin D intake, which helps your body absorb calcium. Women older than 50 should consume 800 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily, recommends the ADA.