When You Turn 50, Start Drinking This Beverage For Healthy Aging

Turning 50 might make you feel like you're over the hill, but you can still enjoy the next few decades if you take care of your nutrition. Your body changes when you're older, so that Flintstones chewable you took as a kid won't suit you as an adult, let alone when you turn 50. And while some supplement companies have specific formulations of multivitamins for people over 50, you'll want to be sure you get enough calcium and vitamins D, B6, and B12.

Older adults need a little more calcium, and vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. According to a 2023 statement in Endocrine, older adults are more susceptible to a potentially life-span-reducing deficiency of vitamin D, which can lead to problems such as lower bone density, higher risk of falls, and reduced muscle strength. While you could turn to supplements to get your daily 600 IU of vitamin D, most milk is fortified with vitamin D. So, starting your day with a cup of fortified low-fat milk will provide you with 17% of your daily vitamin D.

The importance of vitamin D and milk in older adults

Even though your body produces vitamin D when you're exposed to the sun, a 2012 article in Aging and Disease highlights how older adults tend to spend less time in the sun and that their skin has a harder time synthesizing this vitamin. Older adults often begin to have problems with walking partly as a result of a vitamin D deficiency. Not only does vitamin D play a role in protecting older adults from infection and improving the function of blood vessels, but low levels of vitamin D are also linked to conditions such as metabolic syndrome, dementia, and some cancers.

Drinking a glass of milk every day can reduce your risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and osteoporosis, according to a 2021 review in Nutrition and Metabolism. However, milk might be slightly linked to higher incidences of prostate cancer and Parkinson's. Even if you're in your 30s, you might want to start regularly drinking milk to keep your strength later in life. A 2022 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that you can reduce your risk of having low muscle strength at age 69 if you drink between ¼ and ½ cup of milk every day, and drinking at least a cup of milk every day is linked to more strength in men in midlife.

Milk fat and overall dairy can make a difference in your longevity

Although whole milk does have health benefits, you might want to switch to low-fat for your longevity, says a 2022 study in Nutrients. Out of more than 7,000 people in Australia, those who drank the low-fat version of milk had a lower risk of mortality compared to whole-milk drinkers. Specifically, men had a 31% lower risk and women saw a 41% reduced risk, and men who drank low-fat milk also had a 37% lower risk of dying from heart disease in particular.

Older adults can also struggle with getting enough protein to preserve lean body mass. Rather than turn to high-fat animal protein, which older adults might find difficult to chew and digest, protein from milk and dairy might be better options compared to plant-based protein, according to a 2017 article in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging. When researchers doubled the amount of plant-based protein sources from nuts, legumes, and soy, older adults didn't get enough protein in their diet. However, doubling the amount of protein from milk and other dairy products helped them achieve their protein needs.