‘Not complicated!’ Nutritionist’s weight loss tips for over 50s – ‘healthiest way to eat’

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Nutritionist Emma Thornton spoke to Express.co.uk about how both men and woman can lose weight and get healthy with just five food tips.

The first trend Emma recommends for over 50s is ‘Reducitarianism’.

She began: “This diet is a new take on flexitarian diet and pays a lot more attention to the broader issues of the food chain which is driving the trend.

“This diet is for those who want to eat more plant-based foods but don’t want to give up meat and fish altogether while also doing their bit for the environment.”

The big bonus of this food trend is that eating more plant based foods means eating more fibre, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease.

In fact, it is so essential to losing weight that Eating Well argued: “Even if increasing your fibre intake is the only dietary change you make, you’ll shed pounds.”

And if filling up on fibre means less red or processed meat, even better, as this can help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, which is more prevalent in older people.

Emma recommended: “Try going purely plant-based a few days each week.

“If you find this tough, especially if cooking for the family, then try ‘half and half’ adaptations to some of your regular recipes.

“You can switch half the minced beef in a Bolognese or chilli with lentils or half the chicken in a stir fry with Quorn pieces.”

Emma’s second food tip for over 50s is consuming more mushrooms, as “they are one of the only foods that can synthesise vitamin D”.

Mushrooms are also “hailed for their positive influence on immunity”, which can only be a good thing as the pandemic continues.

“The ability to absorb vitamin D from the sun decreases with age, so including mushrooms grown under UV light can contribute to your intake.
“Mushrooms may also help with anti-ageing.”

The best thing about this healthy trend is that it’s relatively simple, as well as delicious.

Emma stated: “Easy meals to add mushrooms to are scrambled eggs, stir-fries, and one-pot dishes like Bolognese or chilli.

“Mushrooms also have a meaty texture, making them perfect when you’re trying to go plant-based (try making blended mushroom burgers).”

Foods that support immunity are also essential for over 50s on their health and wellness journey, so keep an eye out for foods rich in vitamin C, D, E and zinc.

But note that the secret weapon of immunity foods is selenium.

This mineral binds with proteins to make selenoproteins that “help to prevent cells from getting damaged from free radicals”.

Emma explained: “This type of damage has been associated with chronic diseases, including the heart.

Selenoproteins also help to regulate thyroid function and contribute to immunity.”

The “richest source” of selenium can be found in Brazil nuts, as well as tuna, salmon, shellfish, meat, poultry, tofu, beans, mushrooms, brown rice and oats, and wholemeal pasta and bread.

Next is the MIND diet, which combines the Mediterranean and DASH diet to “help lower blood pressure”.

“Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet contains many elements that may help to reduce the risk factors associated with cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

“The Dash diet has been shown to lower blood pressure, a crucial risk factor for vascular dementia.”

Like weight loss guru Dr Michael Mosley, Emma maintained that “the Mediterranean diet has been shown time and again to be the healthiest way to eat as well as being linked to the reduced risk of other chronic diseases such as those of the heart”.

Slimmers rejoice, as “there is nothing complicated about this diet”.

“Focus on eating primarily plant-based foods such as fruits, veggies (especially green leafy varieties), whole grains, nuts, legumes, and olive oil.

“Include oily fish at least once a week and poultry at least twice a week while limiting your red meat intake to no more than three times a week.

“Cutting back on sugar and salt is a no-brainer for this diet which also discourages the consumption of processed foods.”

Finally, while many it can be disputed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it rings that that “except for sugary breakfast cereals, most other foods traditionally eaten this time of day are highly nutritious”.

And with more people working from home than ever, this is hopefully something that all over 50s can try.

“Breakfast is also an easy way to bump up your fruit and veg intake.

“This can be done by topping fruit to yoghurt or porridge, making fruit and veg smoothies, or adding tomatoes or mushrooms to scrambled eggs.”

Nutritionist Emma concluded: “Try adapting your diet to accommodate some of these foods trends to keep yourself well throughout 2022.”

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