As we grow older, we must eat healthier to increase our resistance to disease and illness. Eating well keeps us emotionally balanced and, believe it or not, nowadays it's easier than ever to have a balanced diet.

The basic guidelines to follow are: include colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as white meat and whole grains into your diet, and stay away from processed foods. Think in the best interest of your mind, body and soul, and never forget the old saying—"we are what we eat."

Fight Disease with the Right Diet

Proper nutrition makes sure the body lives stronger and longer. Good food keep the bones, organs, muscles and additional body parts in perfect shape for extended periods of time. Foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals fight toxins that cause illness, and an adequate diet diminishes the risk of stroke, heart disease, increased blood pressure, bone loss, cancer, diabetes and other ailments. Furthermore, sensible eating is all about limiting your calorie intake; this doesn't mean depriving your body of food, but about eating less but more frequently during the day.

For the brain to function properly, it needs key nutrients. Those who include in their diet a wide range of leafy veggies, fruit, nuts and fish may decrease their risks of getting Alzheimer's disease. Consuming green tea regularly may also help boost mental alertness and memory as you get older. Just because you may be over 50, doesn't mean you can't look and feel great. Wholesome meals provide the body with more energy, thus boosting your self-esteem, and we all know that when the body's happy, the mind is happy, too.

Food for People in Their 50s

Older people should focus on whole fruits, not just on homemade juices and smoothies. Also, rather than have bananas and apples for breakfast, it can be beneficial to switch to more colorful fruit choices like melons or berries. As far as vegetables are concerned, the more varied your selection, the better. Choose leafy greens that are rich in antioxidants like squash, broccoli, spinach, kale, yams and carrots.

Now it's time to move on another food category—whole grains and dairy. People in their 50s must keep their bones healthy; for that to happen they must supply their bodies with adequate amounts of calcium to prevent bone fractures and osteoporosis. Average doses of calcium required per day by an older adult is 1,200 milligrams (mg). You might want to ingest this amount from all-natural sources such as cheese, yogurt and milk, as well as non-dairy sources like almonds, tofu, kale and broccoli.

Be wise when choosing the carbohydrates in your diet—try to stick to whole grains.

Stay Hydrated and Healthy

After a certain age, some people can become susceptible to dehydration. The body loses its capacity to control fluid levels, and thus an older adult's need for water might not be as sharp. Have a glass of fresh water every hour in order to avoid the development of common conditions such as constipation and urinary tract infections. (See: How Hydration Helps Dizziness and Incontinence)

The Benefits of Vitamin B

Generally, after the age of 50, the stomach produces less gastric acid making it challenging for the body to absorb vitamin B12—which helps create red blood cells and sustain a healthy central nervous system—and therefore, vitamin B deficiencies may occur. This vitamin is essential for older adults because it helps maintain proper blood flow. Daily vitamin B12 intake is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) from fortified foods. In special circumstances, a nutritionist may recommend a supplement.

The Importance of Eating More Fiber

Older people should include more dietary fiber into their daily diet in order to lower their risks for diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart disease. Adequate amounts of fiber should be taken from food; some of their primary benefits being healthier skin, increased immune system and maintaining proper weight.

Women should include about 21 grams (g) of fiber a day into their regimen, while men should aim to eat 30g a day. Sadly, very few older adults are aware that fiber is elementary for the proper functioning of the body. Some of the best sources of fiber include wheat cereals, oatmeal, whole grains, veggies, nuts and certain fruits like pears and citrus fruits.

After your body has gotten used to wholesome eating, you should also start reducing your sodium intake because salt can increase water retention and may lead to high blood pressure. All in all, adhering to a healthy, varied and nutritiously-rich diet will enable you to better enjoy your older years.

Jefferey Morgan writes for Nuique, which offers vegan omega-3 supplements and natural health products. He possess a deep knowledge of health and fitness-related issues, and has written many articles on these topics.