Ok its official the Baby Boomers have hit middle age. Born 1946 to 1964 we have moved in to the middle part of our lives. And, being that we are known as the rebellious generation, we are likely to rebel against aging as well. Here are a few tips taken from the book, Boomer Be Well! Rebel Against Aging through Food, Nutrition and Lifestyle (2011), Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RD

1. Be selective in what you eat. As we age, our bodies need more nutrition and fewer calories. Adding nutrient dense foods with lots of color will add more nutrition. The darker the food, the higher the antioxidant and nutrient punch. For example, black or red beans have a higher iron and antioxidant value. Spinach has more nutrition than iceberg lettuce.

2. Add more spice to your life. This is meant to be taken literally. While many may not embrace eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, spices and herbs are packed with nutrition. A few of the powerhouses include cloves, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, onions, basil, oregano and rosemary. Make up your own herb and spice blend or rub for barbecued meats or seafood. See the recipes tab on http://www.susanpiergeorge.com

3. Get adequate protein. As we age we lose 3-10% of our muscle mass every decade after our 30’s. Consuming adequate protein is essential in maintaining muscle mass, nervous system health, satiety and immunity. How much is adequate? About 1/3 to 1/2 your body weight in grams of protein should do the trick. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs., 50-75 grams of protein per day will fulfill your needs. One ounce of animal protein contains about 7 grams; a cooked 4 ounce portion contains 21-24 grams of protein.

4. The Importance of vitamin D. Vitamin D has been linked with a number of conditions including brain health, bone health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and immune related illnesses. If you live above the latitude of Los Angeles or Atlanta you are likely not getting enough vitamin D in the winter. Supplementation is something to discuss with your healthcare practitioner. Both vitamin D2 and D3 are good sources, however D3 has been shown to have better absorption. Natural sources include sunshine (5-30 minutes a few days per week), cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna, fortified foods such as milk and cereals. The current daily recommended intake of vitamin D over age 50 is 800-1,000 iu.

5. Immunity. How’s your digestive health? 60-70% of our immune system stems from our intestines. Keeping our intestines healthy will bolster our immune systems. What to do? Consume pre and probiotics. Prebiotics are beneficial organisms that are formed when they are digested in our intestines. Sources include whole grains, garlic, onions, bananas, chicory, inulin (the fiber found in artichokes). Some foods are now being fortified with prebiotics such as chicory and inulin. Probiotics are friendly bacteria found in foods and supplements. Food sources include yogurt, buttermilk, kefir and sauerkraut. Be sure to look for live active cultures on the label of these products. When purchasing supplements, follow the instructions on the label and refrigerate after opening.

6. Include omega-3 in your regimen. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines. Some vegetable sources include purslane, chia seeds, flax seed and walnuts. Omega-3’s have a beneficial link to brain health, boosting mood, cardiovascular health, arthritis and a number of other conditions. Consuming 4-6 ounces of fatty fish twice a week will provide a good source of omega-3’s, however many of us don’t consume fatty fish twice a week. Discuss supplementation with your healthcare practitioner. It’s important to ask about supplementation, especially if you are taking medications.

7. Consume complex carbohydrates. We boomers have seen the low carb diets come and go. Here’s what’s for sure—complex carbs are good for you. We need them for B vitamins which help with metabolism, nervous system health and their anti-inflammatory properties. They also provide satiety, boost immune health, heart health and assist with digestion. Sources of complex carbs include whole grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds.

Author's Bio: 

Susan M. Piergeorge, MS, RD is a registered dietitian and baby boomer. Her background includes nutritional counseling, health promotion, employee wellness, sales and marketing. She also possesses a professional culinary certificate. Susan has experience in healthcare, food manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. Her book, Boomer Be Well! is available at her website http://www.susanpiergeorge.com along with Amazon and Barnes and Noble.