If you’re over 50 years old, you’ve probably noticed that food affects you a little bit differently than it did when you were younger. While a nightly bowl of ice cream used to be a delicious, harmless nightly staple, you might find that this habit now has a bigger impact on your health or makes you feel a certain way.
It’s possible that your doctor has talked to you about eating in a way that promotes bone strength or keeps your blood sugar in check, and there’s good reason for that. As we age, our nutritional needs change, and the phrase “you are what you eat” becomes more relevant than ever before.
We know, we know. We’re delivering a lot of depressing news here. With that in mind, certain foods can be beneficial when it comes to keeping age-related health issues at bay. Here, a geriatrician and registered dietitians share the top foods people over 50 should pick up at the grocery store.
Flavorful herbs like parsley, saffron or rosemary
Because salt can contribute to high blood pressure, Dr. Nina L. Blachman, a geriatrician at NYU Langone Health, suggests limiting salt as much as possible. “Instead of salt, I recommend seasoning foods with herbs,” she said. Flavorful herbs like parsley, saffron or rosemary can go a long way when it comes to adding flavor to your food with little or even no salt.
According to nutritionist Tara Tomaino, a registered dietitian, beans (think chickpeas, black beans, etc.) are a great option for people over 50.
“Whether canned or dried, beans are a great food to incorporate in the diet for people 50 and over,” she said. “Beans are a great source of fiber as well as plant-based protein. Fiber is a key nutrient for heart health, blood-sugar management and weight control. If purchasing canned beans, be sure to rinse and drain them to get rid of the packing liquid and excess sodium. Aim to eat half a cup of beans per day by adding them to salads or soups.”
“This high-protein food is a great choice for any meal of the day or even snacks,” she said. “Pair cottage cheese with fruit for a sweet and salty combo or blend into a dip to enjoy with fresh vegetables. Choose low-sodium or no-salt-added cottage cheese if high blood pressure is a concern.”
Dark leafy greens
Choose from your favorite leafy greens, Tomaino suggests: spinach, kale, chard, collard greens and even broccoli.
“These vegetables are high in fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium, which are all crucial to heart health. Leafy greens are also low in carbohydrates and calories, making them an excellent addition to the diet if you are trying to manage weight and blood sugar.”
All kinds of berries, including strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, are packed with health benefits for people over 50.
“Berries are high in antioxidants, which help mitigate inflammation and provide the body with anti-cancer properties,” Tomaino said. “Berries are also high in fiber, making them an excellent fruit choice for those managing blood sugar. Choose organic berries (fresh or frozen) when possible. Eat them on their own or add to oatmeal, yogurt, salads or smoothies.”
Salmon, ideally wild-caught, is a top food for people over 50 due to it’s omega-3 content, Tomaino said.
“Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to heart health and have also been linked to brain health,” she said. “Lower in saturated fat than red meat, salmon is a great protein choice to include in the diet at least once a week. Broiled salmon with veggies makes an easy weeknight sheet pan meal.”
Nuts and seeds
Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds and chia seeds are rich in heart-healthy fats, fiber and essential nutrients, explained nutritionist Marine Melamed. “They can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, support digestive health, and provide a source of plant-based protein,” she said.
Skip the fatty cuts of meat and opt for lean cuts of chicken and turkey, or even eggs. “Lean sources of protein like poultry, lean cuts of meat, eggs and plant-based proteins (tofu, legumes, lentils) are essential for muscle maintenance, immune function and wound healing,” Melamed said.
Quinoa and brown rice
Whole grains are another great option for the 50-plus crowd. “Quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat and oats are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates,” Melamed said. “They provide sustained energy, aid in digestion, and help regulate blood-sugar levels, reducing the risk of developing metabolic diseases.”
While nutritional needs and limitations do become more complex as we get older, with a few simple diet tweaks you can come up with simple, delicious ways to modify your diet. So get that grocery list started!
Want to make cooking a little easier? Try some of Amazon’s top-selling products that readers love.
HuffPost may receive a commission from some purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently curated by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.
Promising review: "Question: What do you do if you are a vegetarian and your family eats meat and you want a lasagna but don't want to make two full pans? Answer: Get this product right now! With this pan you can make a quick meal since you don't have to cook the noodles, even with the regular lasagna noodles. I find the walls of these pans are compact and the heat from the channels cooks the pasta around it quickly, resulting in fork-tender lasagna without boiling first. The trick is to use a lot of sauce and cover it with foil. The added bonus with this pan is the fact that the leftovers can be stored easily and simply in containers ready to go for tomorrow's lunch — no cutting and messing with lasagna slices in a flat pan. Take care of your products though, as others have said, do not let this soak in water too long or it may rust." — PinkSugar
Promising review: "Makes life so much easier. I can't imagine chopping onions or bell peppers by hand anymore, and it does so much more. We used to have a Prepworks chopper which was a similar idea, but you had to press so hard to chop, and it broke after not too long. This one requires very little effort to cut through the food and it has a generous container." — Amazon customer
Promising review: "I love it. My family loves it. We used to use a handheld flat cheese grater. It took forever to grind enough cheese out of that thing. This little jewel cranks out grated cheese. We tried all sorts of hard cheeses just to see the thing work, then froze some soft cheeses to see how they worked. Now we mix our cheeses just because it is so easy to do. Asiago/Parmesan rockfish? Simple. Pretty neat. It works. It's cheap. Easy to clean. Handy as hell. Buy one." — Aranhas
Promising review: "So my three youngest are left-handed even though no one else in the family is. Now that they are teens their school-sized left-handed scissors don't fit their hands. I ordered these because we have always used Fiskars school stuff, especially scissors. They are just what I was hoping they would be. And my teens are so excited to not have to use the regular kitchen scissors anymore. Sounds funny, but when you are left-handed those things make a big difference. I am going to order a few more pairs. Great scissors!" — oliveoil
Promising review: "This makes the creamiest froth ever! I am completely blown away by the results of this device. I had no idea that I could make froth at home like this. This changes my whole cappuccino experience!!!" —Wells
Promising review: "Pouring a scalding hot pot of pasta into a colander brings back memories of said colander tipping over and pasta spilling all over the sink or the bottom portion of pasta sitting in a shallow pool of water you just poured into the sink. Not to mention the splash back when the water hits the rim or side of the colander just perfectly. This product relieved me of having to worry about those catastrophic events. Just snap onto your pot while still having two hands to control the pour." — John C
Promising review: "I cut one whole head of lettuce and filled it up to wash, and it fits with the lid on. It doesn't squish the lettuce and all the parts feel well-made. I like that everything is clear and see-through so you can see the color of the water. All the pieces disassemble for washing and rinsing, and they don't have too little spaces that trap lettuce." — amy_inca
Promising review: "I absolutely love this little powerhouse! I use it regularly in my kitchen, particularly around and inside of my oven, and all around my bathroom! The brush adapters are perfect for cleaning tile/grout and the hard-to-reach small areas around the outside and inside of my stovetop/oven (I have a dedicated brush for each) and it cuts right through grease. Because the reservoir only holds a certain amount of water you will need to refill it and let it warm back up but it gives your hand a rest in between. Definitely recommend!" — Melissa
Promising review: "Wow I don't know how I lived without an enamel Dutch oven for so long! We use this for so many recipes, whether or not this is technically the best pot to use for them. I love that the enamel is safer and more durable than nonstick but doesn't sacrifice that function. We only hand wash it because we don't want to ruin the finish, but that has been very easy so far. It is also great for baking. Overall, could not be happier with this product." — RMS
Promising review: "This is an amazing tool! It's about the same size as a manual can opener, but this is automatic. All you have to do is place it on the can and press the button and it turns on its own. Just press the button again once it reaches the starting point and it disengages and turns off. This doesn't leave sharp lid edges like regular openers. What a lifesaver!" — Rachel Young
The tool is safe to use with nonstick cookware and you can throw it in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
Promising review: "The chopper breaks up ground beef, turkey, etc. much more efficiently than can be done with a spatula or turner. I don't normally purchase incredibly specialized utensils if I can get by without them, however, I think this chopper is worth the money because it saves time and makes cooking easier. The nylon material is heat-resistant and seems durable, but the packaging still directs not to leave on a hot surface when not in use." — Karen
Promising review: "As a working chef for over 30 years, I've gone through dozens of thermometers, and this one stands out. I actually purchased this by accident while buying several thermometers to try with the intent of buying a dozen for my crew. I was looking for thermometers that can be field-calibrated and as far as I can tell, this one can't. But I intend to buy more of these because they are accurate, easy to read, and just more pleasant to use. They are tough, and I love the ring on the end; I keep this one hanging on a hook near our ranges so I don't have to hunt it down. It does not ride easily in my chef's coat, but that is due to the longer probe. Which I LOVE. In two weeks I have used this one thermometer over 130 times, all with pleasure." — Cetaceous Dave
Promising review: "This is my third one. One was melted on the stove burner recently by someone I seem to have married who doesn't know fire is hot yet. The other lasted through five years of heavy use. It did get pitted along the inside here and there; I don't know from what, but I suspect the aforementioned person. This folds absolutely flat and can be used as is or partially opened for a thinner cover to put over a bowl, say. Not difficult to clean since things don't really stick to it but if you have a mess it just takes a small second to make sure the folds and holes are all clean. This is also great for making microwave popcorn, putting corn in a bowl and using this to allow air flow. It will raise up as popcorn pops and fills bowl. Another neat gift to give someone since it's a handy gadget that saves space and something you'd use a lot." — Ms. Windermere
It's dishwasher- and microwave-safe. Measurements include: 1 cup, ½ cup, ⅓ cup, ¼ cup, 2 tbsp, 1 tbsp, ½ tbp, 1 tsp, ½ tsp, ¼ tsp, 120 ml, 80 ml, 60 ml, 30 ml, 15 ml, 7.5 ml, 5 ml, 2.5 ml and 1.25 ml.
Promising review: "First of all, I gotta say I don’t cook much and if there’s something I hate after cooking is having to wash all the bunch of utensils I have to use once I use them. This cube has been amazing, I don’t have to wash a million utensils over and over, it’s very easy to use, easy to clean and it’s very handy to use for when I’m meal prepping for the week. I bought this out of curiosity and ended up enjoying it a lot. If a regular guy like me is enjoying it, I’m sure it would be a great tool for people who cook or bake on a regular basis." — Daniel Matajira
Promising review: "I got so tired of measuring spoons either getting lost in my drawer or having to deal with ones on rings. These are fantastic. The magnet holds them together well, and I love that each ‘spoon’ is actually two (each end is a different shape, too)." — Alicia S.
Promising review: "I bought this in hopes to make egg bites similar to Starbucks and I have not been disappointed. I chose this one after reading reviews on the smaller four-bite size. I have used it multiple times and have had excellent results each time. I followed the recipe in the booklet and used a tip from another reviewer that suggested to triple the cottage cheese amount. It’s very easy to use and clean." — April124
Promising review: "I saw someone on TikTok with this and gasped! Ordered it right away. I had no idea these things existed. Super easy and convenient and the hard-boiled eggs came out perfectly. I’m testing a batch now without punching a hole in the eggs to see how they come out. Because why not make an easy process even easier?!?! LOL." — Gina
Promising review: "This product is something I didn’t know I needed. It’s like the creator crawled into my soul and found the deepest desire of my heart and then invented it. If you think I’m being dramatic, you should try soggy cereal and then eat cereal from THIS bowl. I’ll take 30 more, please, and hand them out as gifts." — Sarah F.
Promising review: "I saw one of these in action at a friend's house like five years ago and thought it was just a made up memory, because making ice cream out of solely frozen fruit seems wild. But when I saw a TikTok about it I immediately went to Amazon and bought it. Literally this was the BEST decision of my life. I cannot believe still how amazing this thing is! It makes the creamiest, best tasting fruit ice cream ever. It’s easy to take apart and clean, and super easy to use." — DMCKAY
Promising review: "I never had an air fryer before, but now that I have one (in the toaster oven), don't know how I lived without it! This little oven does it all! Easier to clean with the slide-out tray and the air fryer, oven, and broiler (that's all I've used so far!) all work great! Can't wait to try and make my own beef jerky! Best money I've ever spent on a small appliance!" — Ally
Promising review: "I have had an air fryer for years and am just now finding out about these things?! So easy to pop in the dishwasher rather than having to clean the air fryer basket. I still wipe down the basket from juices while cooking, but overall these are now a must in my house." — Madeline Curry Price:$11.99
Promising review: "At first, I laughed thought it was too small to really do anything. I was so wrong — it's an amazing little waffle maker!! Can cook almost anything on it! I have cooked eggs, waffles, and French toast." — S PETERSON
Promising review: "Absolutely awesome way to cook either a homemade pizza or a frozen store bought pizza! If you’re sick of your pizzas not cooking fully and/or correctly, I highly recommend this product!! It’s oversized surface makes cooking any size pizza extremely fast and easy!" — Calvin W Bulford
Promising review: "Single best appliance I own. My boyfriend sent me this sort of as a joke; we both thought it was both ridiculous and brilliant to have a McMuffin maker in your house. And then I tried cooking with it for the first time. Holy crap, it's AMAZING. I ended up using frozen waffles for the bread; you have to trim them just a tad, but they are the perfect amount of crispy. I love experimenting with this, and have built some truly amazing sandwiches. Waffles, eggs, avocado, Swiss, and ham. Waffles, egg, corn salsa, jack cheese. If you can fit it into the rounds, you can make a sandwich with it. The panel under the egg slides out easily and cleanly when the egg is cooked (I find four minutes is perfect for cooked eggs with runny yolks), and the whole middle section can simply be tossed in the dishwasher." — Elizabeth Joy Weaver
This 3.5-quart mini mixer includes a wire whisk, flat beater, and dough hook. It is dishwasher-safe and sports a powerful 10-speed slide control.
Promising review: "I’m in love! I’ve been waiting to buy a mixer for so long and I finally pulled the trigger. I was hesitant to purchase the mini thinking it was too small — boy was I wrong! This powerful little machine is already the bell of the ball in my kitchen. Don’t let the word 'mini' scare you off, this has no problem making double batches of bread. If you’ve been thinking about buying one, don’t hesitate; you won’t regret adding this beauty to your kitchen arsenal." — Dani
Promising review: "I have no complaints. They are easy to clean and keep stuff from sticking. I have used them several times without any issues. I haven't ever used the name-brand ones, but these are pretty darn good from what I have seen." — braingamer47
This nine-piece set comes with a 8.7-inch/10-inch frying pan, 2.4-quart saucepan with a lid, a 4.3-quart casserole pot with a lid, and a 4.5-quart saute pan with a lid and turner.
Promising review: "Ok, I don't post many reviews. This cookware set is worth a review. By far the best cooking set I have ever owned for this price. I also purchased the Carote 6-Qt Nonstick Deep Frying Pan with Lid [and] 12.5-Inch Skillet Saute Pan (monster). The construction is high quality. The non-stick is really non-stick. So far, I have cooked 12 or so meals with the set, and it has been great. I have also deep-fried with the set with no issues. Warning the handles will get warm most of the time and hot on occasion (deep frying). Very much worth the purchase." — Warren