What you eat in your middle years sets the stage for the rest of your life.

Recommendation

Rationale

Notes

Eat calcium-rich foods.

Proper calcium intake helps keep bones strong and reduces osteoporosis risk.

Try salmon, sardines, broccoli and tofu for nondairy calcium sources.

Avoid caffeine.

Caffeine leaches calcium from bones and reduces retinal blood flow, which can compromise eye health.

If you absolutely must have caffeine, limit yourself to less than 200 mg/day—about 1.25 cups of coffee. Beware of hidden caffeine in chocolate.

Get plenty of fiber.
25­35 g/day

Fiber reduces blood pressure, helps clean the digestive system and maintains regularity.

Fiber-rich foods include whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables.

Integrate soy into your diet.
25­50 g of soy protein/day

Soy lowers cholesterol and, for women, helps minimize perimenopausal symptoms.

Try soy milk, tofu, tempeh, soy cheese or edamame.

Eat dark green leafy vegetables.

These vegetables contain the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent age-related macular degeneration.

Best food sources include chard, kale and spinach.

Drink water.
8­10 8-oz glasses/day

Water helps flush out waste, aids in proper digestion and keeps skin looking healthy.

Add a slice of fresh lemon or lime to water or make decaffeinated herbal tea for variety.

Sources: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima Publishing, 1998); Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, www.mayoclinic.com.