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5 foods for the over 50 crowd

Men and women must alter their diets as they age. Portion sizes that young adults might have been able to get away must shrink when those same men and women enter their 30s. And as thirty-somethings head into their 40s, what's on the plate requires more careful consideration than it might have a decade ago. The same goes for men and women over 50, who must take steps to reduce their risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. One of the easiest ways to do just that is to eat healthy foods. The following are five flavorful and healthy foods tailor-made for the over 50 crowd.

1. Apples: Apples definitely qualify as a superfood, helping reduce cholesterol by preventing plaque buildup in the blood vessels and, as a result cutting an individual's risk of diabetes considerably. In fact, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that eating at least two servings of apples per week can reduce a person's risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as 23 percent. Apples also make for a great source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.

2. Blueberries: Blueberries help men and women maintain healthy blood sugar levels because they are high in soluble fiber, which lowers cholesterol while slowing the body's uptake of glucose. And despite their relatively small size, blueberries contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals per ounce than any other fruit.

3. Broccoli: Though broccoli might not have been your best friend during childhood, you may want to cozy up to this powerful green vegetable now that you have cracked the half-century mark. Broccoli is loaded with vitamin C. A single 3.5 ounce serving of broccoli contains more than 150 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which can shorten the duration of the common cold. In addition, a 2013 British study published in Medical News Today found that broccoli may help prevent osteoarthritis, a degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone that is most common from middle age onward. A similar study from researchers at New York's Roswell Park Cancer Institute published in the same publication six years earlier found that just three servings of broccoli per month can decrease bladder cancer risk by as much as 40 percent.

4. Fava beans: Fava beans are cholesterol-free and low in fat. Fava beans also may provide cardiovascular benefits and help men and women maintain healthy weights. Fava beans are considered "nutrient-dense," a term used to describe low-calorie foods that boast lots of nutrients, and are an excellent source of vitamin B1, which is important for nervous system function and energy metabolism.

5. Oatmeal: Another food that might never make youngsters' lists of their favorite foods, oatmeal is nonetheless a healthy option at the breakfast table. Oatmeal is loaded with soluble fiber, which can reduce cholesterol levels and subsequently reduce a person's risk of heart disease. Also low in calories, oatmeal can help men and women maintain a healthy weight. Those who find oatmeal a tad too bland for their tastes can double on their superfoods by adding some blueberries into the mix, making their breakfast more flavorful and more healthy.