5 Best Vegetables To Eat After 50, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That


As we age, our dietary needs change. Eating the right foods can help us stay healthy and active. Dietitians recommend that people over 50 should focus on eating nutrient-dense foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Vegetables are an excellent source of these nutrients and should be included in your diet. Here are the five best vegetables to eat after 50, according to dietitians. These vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that can help you stay healthy and active. They are also low in calories and fat, making them a great choice for those looking to maintain a healthy weight. So, if you’re over 50, make sure to include these vegetables in your diet for optimal health.

5 Best Vegetables To Eat After 50, Says Dietitian — Eat This Not That

As you age, your body’s nutritional needs change. Eating a balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health, and that includes eating plenty of vegetables. But which vegetables should you be eating after 50? We asked a dietitian to share her top picks.

1. Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of vitamins C and K, as well as folate and fiber. It’s also a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health. Broccoli is also low in calories and can be eaten raw or cooked.

2. Spinach

Spinach is a nutrient-dense vegetable that’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and iron. It’s also a good source of fiber and can be eaten raw or cooked. Spinach is low in calories and can be added to salads, soups, and other dishes.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber and potassium. They’re also low in calories and can be eaten baked, mashed, or roasted. Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any meal.

4. Kale

Kale is a nutrient-dense vegetable that’s packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as fiber and calcium. It’s also low in calories and can be eaten raw or cooked. Kale can be added to salads, soups, and other dishes.

5. Asparagus

Asparagus is a great source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folate and fiber. It’s also low in calories and can be eaten raw or cooked. Asparagus is a great addition to any meal and can be added to salads, soups, and other dishes.

Eating a variety of vegetables is important for maintaining good health after 50. These five vegetables are a great place to start. Be sure to talk to your doctor or dietitian about the best foods for your individual needs.

Vegetables are always going to come out on top as a favorite food recommendation from dietitians. Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, other disease-fighting compounds, carbohydrates, and proteins. Some of the specific diseases that vegetables battle on our behalf are age-related chronic conditions.

Increasing vegetable consumption, especially green vegetable consumption, is referenced repeatedly through research and by nutrition professionals as a primary way to improve your health, including in your 50s and beyond. Here we take a closer look at these green vegetables and ways to boost intake to help you live life fully in your later years. Read on, and for more, don’t miss 7 Eating Habits That Help You Feel Younger After 50.

Baby spinach colander

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is an eye disease that deteriorates the central part of the retina, or macula, and leads to visual impairment. Spinach contains vitamin A and the carotenoid pigments lutein and zeaxanthin, which all play an impactful role in protecting the eye against sun damage and eye changes due to aging. There is evidence that shows the average American diet includes just one to three milligrams a day of lutein and zeaxanthin while about six milligrams per day have been associated with decreased risk of AMD.

You can reap spinach’s eye health-supporting benefit whether you eat the leafy green fresh, canned, or frozen.

bowl of kale

Kale is a low oxalate, calcium-rich vegetable. Oxalate is a compound that inhibits calcium absorption, so finding a veggie that packs in the calcium, while keeping oxalate at bay, is key for bone health. Adequate intakes of calcium and vitamin D are crucial nutrients in building and maintaining strong bones.

After age 50, bone mineral density begins to significantly decline as bone breakdown outpaces bone formation, thus leaving us more prone to bone diseases such as osteomalacia or osteoporosis.

If throwing kale into a salad isn’t your thing, try making kale chips by mixing a couple of handfuls with a tablespoon of olive oil and baking in the oven until crispy, or blending into a smoothie.

RELATED: 4 Drinks to Strengthen Your Bones As You Age, Say Dietitians

romaine lettuce

As a dietitian, I like to debunk the myth with my clients that romaine (and iceberg) lettuce doesn’t have nutritional benefits. In fact, romaine lettuce, and other leaf lettuces, contain serious amounts of vitamin A, potassium, and fiber. And because romaine lettuce is so well-liked, accessible, and affordable, it is the easiest “gateway” green to recommend increasing in our diets. Romaine lettuce comes in at under 10 calories a cup and this is especially helpful with keeping weight in check as body weight becomes harder to stabilize after 50 years old. Try using romaine lettuce as a wrap or boat for your next spring roll or taco.

plain roasted broccoli in white bowl

Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint disease, and it’s estimated that 40 percent of people over 65 have some type of osteoarthritis. An anti-inflammatory style of eating is the best dietary approach to protecting our joints. Broccoli is a vegetable that is included in this eating pattern and contains a compound called glucosinolate. Some research, like this randomized controlled trial published in 2017 in Scientific Reports, has found glucosinolates can prevent cartilage destruction, thus protecting joints. Increase broccoli intake by dunking it in a ranch dip as a snack solution or mixing it in with your next macaroni and cheese.

RELATED: 5 Worst Eating Habits for Joint Pain, Say Dietitians

swiss chard

The last vegetable to make the list is Swiss chard. Dark leafy greens are called out in the “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay” (MIND) diet as a food to have every day. The MIND diet is rooted in eating patterns found in the DASH and Mediterranean Diet, with additional emphasis on foods that have been linked to better cognitive function and delayed cognitive decline. A randomized controlled trial manuscript of the MIND diet published in Contemporary Clinical Trials in 2021 confirms that dark leafy greens are a core piece of the MIND diet that are likely protective against the age-related disease Alzheimer’s dementia. Swiss chard does can be a welcomed addition to a stir-fry or mixed into your next soup recipe.

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD

Molly Hembree, MS, RD, LD, is a nationally recognized registered dietitian. Read more