As you age, you probably know that your metabolism slows down and your body changes. This also means you may have to change your diet. The same foods you loved may start to give you heartburn or simply make you gain weight you don’t want to gain. Also, when you approach menopause, you want to focus on foods that are good for your heart and your bones. Here are some tips:
- Aim for 1,600 to 2,200 calories a day to maintain a healthy weight. Keep in mind these calories should mainly come from healthy foods. You aren’t doing your body any favors if you eat only 1,600 calories a day, but they mostly come from chocolate cake.
- Eat more whole grains. Whole grains can reduce your risk of heart disease and even improve heart health, which is very important for women over 40. Aim for 5 to 7 servings of whole grains a day. This could include oatmeal, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, quinoa, barley or amaranth. Whole grains contain healthy fiber and antioxidants too.
- Make your plate veggie and fruit heavy. Fruits and vegetables are great because they are filling, contain a lot of essential nutrients and are low in calories. Aim for 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 to 2 cups of fruit every day.
- You still need dairy for your bones. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are crucial for women. As you age and you reach menopause, your estrogen levels drop. Estrogen actually protects your bones, so when estrogen levels drop you increase your risk of osteoporosis. To keep your bones strong, aim for 3 servings of dairy per day. If you can’t tolerate dairy, get your calcium elsewhere from soy milk, tofu, cereal, canned sardines, fortified orange juice or supplements.
- Keep your heart healthy with lean proteins. Lean proteins are a good source of iron, zinc, magnesium and B vitamins. You can try lean red meat, chicken, turkey, seafood, beans or soy products. Fish is great because it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which lower your cholesterol and blood pressure. Soy products can help combat menopausal symptoms because they contain phytoestrogens, plant hormones that mimic estrogen in your body.
Are you a woman over 45? At what age did you start changing your diet for your health? What are your favorite healthy foods? Share with us your thoughts!